It should come as no surprise that President Trump won a majority of Western states not only in the primary election but also in the general election. These victories were because he recognized that an overreaching federal government had abandoned Western communities during the Obama Administration. Too often, the most important issues to the West such as water rights, land management and wildfire prevention are mishandled or ignored by unelected Washington bureaucrats who care more about pushing their own political agenda than the well-being of western communities.
Federal agencies like the EPA were created to ensure that the best interests of the American people are protected. Yet, under President Obama, the EPA has done far more harm than good for Western farmers, ranchers and small business owners. Over the past eight years, this agency has unleashed a record number of job-killing rules and regulations that threaten the livelihood and economy of many Western states. Many of these regulations, including the Waters of the U.S. Rule, are not based on science and were enacted unilaterally through lies to Congress and the American people.
President Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator is a clear signal to the West that people, not politics, will be the top priority of in his administration. A true Westerner and the current Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt has witnessed first-hand the negative consequences the EPA’s unconstitutional regulations have inflicted on hard-working Americans. In response, he has led the charge to return balance to the EPA by spearheading court challenges against the EPA’s unconstitutional Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rules. These actions do not mean Pruitt wants to dismantle the EPA, as far-left environmental groups would want you to believe. Instead, he believes the EPA should work with local and state governments to enact common-sense regulations that will protect the environment without crushing western economies.
This philosophy stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s overreaching EPA which attempted to rule by executive order and unlawful regulations instead of respecting the legislative process. Their constant display of autocratic arrogance has resulted in federal courts repeatedly striking down and staying unconstitutional rules. Additionally, President Obama and his agency minions neglected the Constitutional fact that overreaching executive orders and regulations can be undone by an executive order and Congress. By working with Western states, instead of against them, Mr. Pruitt has a far better chance of cementing a lasting legacy of positive environmental reforms.
As the Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I enthusiastically endorse Scott Pruitt’s nomination for EPA Administrator because I know that he will listen to the unique concerns of Western communities and work with Congress to develop legislative solutions. Mr. Pruitt agrees with the more than 50 members of the Western Caucus that the EPA should support American energy producers, not vilify them. By unleashing America’s energy revolution in a responsible way, we will bring new jobs, wealth and accountability to the American people.
I urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Attorney General Scott Pruitt in an expeditious manner.