EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued
(Senate - February 16, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 28 (Thursday, February 16, 2017)]
[Pages S1315-S1391]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Mr. President, in late October, people who lived in a 
place called Donora shrugged off the thick, yellow smog that had 
covered their small town. It was 1948. It wasn't unusual to see a smog 
blanket the town, thanks to the zinc plant and the steel mill that 
smoked endlessly into the Pennsylvania sky. It wasn't unusual to see 
people coughing as they went about their day. As one reporter put it, 
``People are always coughing in Donora.''
  What was unusual is that the smog did not clear as the day went on. 
It lingered, hanging around the town, wreaking havoc for the next 5 
days. At first, life seemed to go on. The Halloween parade went on as 
planned, even though no one could really see the people marching. The 
high school football game went on as planned, although the quarterbacks 
avoided passing plays since the wide receivers couldn't see the ball. 
But then someone died. People couldn't breathe. As the local hospital 
started to fill, the town hotel set up beds for overflow patients. By 
the fourth day, the hotel had to set up another emergency section--this 
time, a temporary morgue. The town's three funeral homes were 
overwhelmed. On the fifth day, the stacks of a zinc plant stopped their 
endless streams of smoke, and the smog that would become known as the 
Donora death fog finally lifted but not before nearly 7,000 people fell 
ill and 20 died.
  This is one of the many stories that show us what life was like in 
the United States of America before the EPA was created. In the early 
1960s, millions of freshwater fish and rivers around the country were 
poisoned by insecticides--hurting consumer trust and the countless 
fishermen and their families who relied on the fish to make a living. 
Pollution was so bad that debris floating in the Cuyahoga River 
actually caught on fire, causing thousands of dollars in property 
damage. The water in Lake Superior, one of the most beautiful lakes in 
the United States, became so toxic from companies dumping asbestos-
laden waste that local communities had to start filtering their water. 
Think about that. People could drink the water from local reservoirs, 
unfiltered, until pollution came along. This was the path our country 
was on.
  Pollution was destroying some of the most beautiful places in this 
country--on the planet, in fact--putting the health of the public and 
the health of our economy at grave risk.
  There was another event in the early 1960s that helped our country to 
see clearly that the path we were on would only lead to destruction. 
Rachel Carson, scientist, public servant, and author, published a book 
called ``Silent Spring.'' This book laid out in simple, beautiful prose 
the threats that pesticides and pollution posed to our environment or 
what Carson called a ``Fable for Tomorrow.'' She wrote: ``The most 
alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the 
contamination of air, earth, rivers and sea, with dangerous and even 
lethal materials.''
  Carson's book made clear that we were contaminating the environment 
and that this could not go on. Her book sounded a call for change, as 
millions of Americans began demanding that the government take action, 
but there was also a backlash. Here is what one industry spokesman said 
as public opinion began to coalesce around addressing pollution:

       The major claims of Miss Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring 
     are gross distortions of the actual facts, completely 
     unsupported by scientific experimental evidence and general, 
     practical experience in the field. Her suggestion that 
     pesticides are in fact biocides destroying all life is 
     obviously absurd in the light of the fact that without 
     selective biologicals, these compounds would be completely 
     useless.

  This is how the controversy went on for the next few years. The 
public, the science, and the reality all pointed toward the truth, but 
a few loud voices persisted. They did not want the movement to go 
forward. This continued even after Rachel Carson passed away, 
tragically and prematurely, of cancer in the year 1964.
  Here is what the New York Times published in her obituary:

       The most recent flare-up in the continuing pesticide 
     controversy occurred early this month when the Public Health 
     Service announced that the periodic huge-scale deaths of fish 
     on the lower Mississippi River had been traced over the last 
     4 years to toxic ingredients and three kinds of pesticides. 
     Some persons believe that the pesticides drained into the 
     river from neighboring farm lands.
       A hearing by the Agriculture Department of the Public 
     Health Service's charges ended a week ago with a spokesman 
     for one of the pesticide manufacturers saying that any 
     judgment should be delayed until more information was 
     obtained.

  The line of argument captured in the New York Times is familiar to 
anyone who has watched our Nation struggle to come to a shared set of 
facts around a number of difficult issues, but even in the face of so 
much controversy, the country did the right thing. In addressing the 
threats to our environment, the U.S. Government--with substantial and 
commendable support from Republicans--began to lay the foundation for a 
new America, one that would preserve and protect our country and its 
resources for the next generation.
  I would like to highlight three of the critical cornerstones in the 
foundation: the EPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.
  Let's start with the EPA itself. It was established in 1970 by 
President Nixon. He united several offices and bureaus already in the 
Federal Government into a single agency--one that

[[Page S1316]]

would oversee all of the laws, protections, research, and policies 
about the Nation's environment. The mission of the EPA was clear from 
the start, to protect human health and the environment. Almost 
immediately, something really exciting happened. There was a feeling of 
hope and anticipation for what this Agency could do for the country. 
Within the first few months, tens of thousands of resumes came flooding 
in from across the country as people clamored to work for the EPA.
  Here is how one man who worked for the Agency described it:

       There was a palpable sense of excitement that we were about 
     to do something big. We had to do things big because the 
     newspapers and news magazines were filled with stories about 
     Lake Erie dying. I think it was a year or two before that the 
     Cuyahoga had indeed caught on fire. I believe the Houston 
     Ship Channel had the same issue. We knew we were there to 
     really deal with substantial problems, and we were going to 
     meet with immediate pushback.

  For the next 40 years, the EPA would build a legacy of preserving and 
protecting the country's air, water, and natural resources, working to 
make our country a better place to live.
  I just want to say that whatever the final disposition of this 
nomination ends up being--and I know we will push as hard as we 
possibly can for the delay of this decision, until we are able to see 
the contents of Mr. Pruitt's emails as directed by the court this 
afternoon--but whatever the decision is of the Senate under advice and 
consent, it is really important that this be said: EPA employees still 
have an obligation under Federal law to do their job, to protect air 
and water, to administer the Clean Air and Clean Water Act, to enforce 
the Endangered Species Act. We are confirming a head of an Agency, but 
this new head of an Agency is not the Emperor of the Agency.
  This new head of an Agency has obligations under the statute to 
enforce the laws on the books, and he has a current role as the lead of 
the Republican Attorneys General Association and as a plaintiff in 
multiple lawsuits against the EPA, and that is a reason many of us 
object to his confirmation. If he is confirmed, every EPA employee has 
rights. They have whistleblower rights, they have protections, and they 
have obligations under the statute so that if this EPA tries to do 
anything unlawful, anything that contravenes the Clean Air Act, the 
Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, then all of the EPA 
employees are dutybound under the law to follow the law.
  No one in the Federal Government should be forced to do anything 
unlawful, and we support the EPA employees, in particular, who we know 
work so hard and are so dedicated to such an important cause. We know 
they are under intense scrutiny and pressure, and I think it is worth 
saying that we support them but also that the law supports them.
  One of the first actions of the Agency was to ban DDT, a pesticide 
used in World War II. At first, DDT seemed like a dream chemical. It 
was used to protect soldiers from pests and then to protect crops like 
cotton, but soon it became clear--thanks to Rachel Carson and others--
that this chemical was creating far more harm than good. Public health 
was really in danger. The bald eagle and other wildlife were being 
poisoned, and the pests that were supposed to be put off from bothering 
the crops were adapting, becoming more resistant, even as the chemicals 
became more potent and ultimately more dangerous.
  Thanks to the EPA, the use of DDT came to an end. The health of 
children, families, and wildlife immediately improved. The bald eagle 
slowly recovered, to the point where it is no longer a threatened or an 
endangered species.
  The Agency also found a solution to acid rain, which was a major 
problem that killed fish, hurt American farmers, and caused damage to 
forests and infrastructure alike. After studies showed how high 
concentrations of lead were hurting our kids, the EPA took action to 
remove it from gasoline and from the air. Because of that action, lead 
levels in both kids and adults have dropped by more than 80 percent 
since the late 1970s. We have a lot more work to do on lead, but that 
is one of the many EPA success stories.
  The EPA then took on secondhand smoke, banning smoking in indoor 
public places. It pushed the auto industry to design technology that 
would reduce the amount of pollution created by cars, a step that would 
reduce the amount of pollution per mile emitted by cars by up to 90 
percent. It provides technical assistance to State and local 
governments that otherwise don't have the resources or the know-how to 
tackle problems on their own.
  The Agency has also empowered the public through right-to-know laws 
that give people access to information about chemicals, toxic 
substances, and pollution in their own communities. After studies show 
how low-income and minority communities face greater environmental 
risks, the EPA formed an Office of Environmental Justice, dedicated to 
making these communities as safe as any other in the country. As is so 
often the case, this Federal Agency set the bar for the rest of the 
world on how governments can protect and preserve the environment.
  One leader of the EPA who served under President George H.W. Bush 
recalled that the Agency worked with countries as varied as Morocco and 
Mexico to battle fires or spills. After the EPA sent people to help 
with a Russian spill that was impacting Estonia, the Prime Minister 
wrote the EPA a letter, saying their visit was the most important visit 
of any American's since Charles Lindbergh had flown from Russia to 
Estonia in 1933.
  So the EPA has had incredibly important impacts, from boosting 
diplomacy around the world to protecting the lungs of little ones right 
here at home.
  The second cornerstone of our efforts to protect the environment is 
the Clean Air Act. Before the EPA opened its doors, States set their 
own standards for clean air, and most States had weak standards because 
they were in a race to the bottom to attract companies that didn't want 
to have to deal with the damage they caused. Imagine you are in a State 
and have three or four adjacent States and someone wants to cite a 
factory. Well, it is very difficult to have a strong environmental 
standard because that factory is no doubt going to find the place where 
they are allowed to pollute the most, which is why you have Federal 
standards. Not surprisingly, these low standards were fueling air 
pollution.

  Every day, the average American takes between 17,000 and 23,000 
breaths. If the air we are breathing is filled with toxic chemicals, we 
are at risk for cancer, birth defects, and damage to our lungs, our 
brain, and our nerves. That risk is even higher for people with asthma 
and for senior citizens.
  Remember, humans are not the only ones that rely on clean air. Trees, 
crops, wildlife, lakes, fish are all at risk of damage when we have 
dirty air. So eventually the American public demanded that something be 
done to clean up our air.
  In 1970, Congress on a bipartisan basis, passed the Clean Air Act. 
This law, along with later amendments, makes up the complete Federal 
response to air pollution. It is a beautifully written law. It gives 
the EPA the authority to limit air pollutants and emissions from 
industry plants. It empowers the Agency to research and fund different 
approaches to keeping the air clean. It creates partnerships between 
Federal, State, and local governments to reduce air pollution. Who 
could argue with that?
  As soon as it was passed, people knew that this law was a game 
changer. President Nixon said: ``I think that 1970 will be known as the 
year of the beginning, in which we really began to move on the problems 
of clean air and clean water and open spaces for the future generations 
of America.''
  That is exactly what happened. The impact was actually felt very 
quickly, starting with the auto industry. The Clean Air Act called on 
the auto industry to drastically reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide, 
carbon monoxide, and other harmful chemicals that came out of the 
tailpipes across the country within 5 years.
  Consider that today there are more than three times the amount of 
cars on the road than they were in the 1970s. Now imagine that the 
chemicals coming out of each of those car's tailpipes were 90 percent 
more harmful. That is where we would be without the Clean Air Act.
  It was not so long ago that communities would cancel high school for 
kids because the air pollution was so bad, not in Beijing but in 
California. That is no longer the case, not for numerous

[[Page S1317]]

reasons, not for a dozen or so causes but because of the Clean Air Act. 
This law has literally saved millions of lives. It has improved the 
health of millions of others.
  Because the EPA has been there to enforce it, air pollution has 
fallen by 70 percent since 1970. Smog levels in Los Angeles have fallen 
from their peak by two-thirds. Nationwide, lead in our cars is down 98 
percent, carbon monoxide is down 85 percent, sulphur dioxide is down 80 
percent, acid rain is down 50 percent, and all at a fraction of 
anticipated costs.
  Let me make two points here. First of all, it is actually rare that a 
law works this well. I mean, it is hard to make a good law. Everybody 
talks about it as a sausage-making process; you don't want to see what 
goes into it. But not all laws work over time.
  This law actually worked. This law actually cleaned up our air. That 
is a really important thing to remember. If you undermine this law, if 
you undermine the agency that enforces it, the air does not clean up 
itself. This is not an automatic thing. The air is clean because the 
government protects the air.
  I understand that, including the Presiding Officer and many Members 
of the Republican Party, we have tough debates about how big the 
government should be, what its responsibility should be. But if you go 
from Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist, to Rand Paul, the sort of 
Republican libertarian--and I am not sure if you just sat down and had 
a cup of coffee with either of them or everybody in between on the 
political spectrum, in terms of their view of what the Federal 
Government ought to do, gosh, I can't imagine that anybody--if you kind 
of get them in a private moment--does not think that it is a Federal 
role to keep the air clean.
  There are moments where I see a program within a Federal agency and I 
might love it, right, because of my political persuasion. But I can 
understand how a Ben Sasse or a Rand Paul or a Marco Rubio might object 
to it because they might say: Well, that sounds like a good idea, but 
my goodness, if that is so important, why don't we let communities 
decide whether or not to do that?
  This is not one of those issues. Go and talk to your constituents 
about whether they want clean air. I don't know that you are going to 
find too many Republicans out there--I mean voters, not elected 
officials--voters, who think clean air is, take it or leave it, not a 
Federal role.
  The truth is, that first of all, clean air is important enough to 
make a Federal law about in the first place. But there is also a 
technical reason, not a very complicated technical reason, but a 
technical reason that you need a Federal law that is about clean air as 
opposed to a State-by-State patchwork, and that is because the air 
travels. You cannot pollute in one State and expect that it will not 
impact the other State.
  So one State having tough clean air standards doesn't really function 
in terms of the ecology because pollution knows no boundaries. The same 
study that I referred to found that air pollution has improved in the 
United States, thanks to environmental protection. But our work is not 
done. Nearly 90,000 people every year in the United States are at risk 
of a premature death because of air pollution. That number will rise if 
we chip away at this basic foundation.
  The third and final cornerstone of that foundation is the Clean Water 
Act. It is really important to remember how bad things were before the 
Clean Water Act. I mean, we are not where we need to be in terms of 
protecting our water resources. But it is kind of unfathomable how bad 
it was before this law was passed.
  Water in communities across the country was dirty. You could not swim 
or fish in two-thirds of the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters in the 
country. You couldn't swim or fish in two-thirds of the lakes, rivers, 
and coastal waters in the country. That is a data point that you would 
expect in a country that is still industrializing, that just doesn't 
have the pollution controls.
  When you go to certain parts of the planet and you see essentially a 
very dirty environment, you would assume two-thirds, maybe more, of 
those lakes and streams and waterways are too polluted to fish or swim. 
But this is the United States. It was allowable to dump untreated 
sewage into open water. You could dump untreated sewage into open water 
before the Clean Water Act.
  But that changed in 1972, when what is now known as the Clean Water 
Act became law and cleared the way for the Federal Government to 
restore and protect the health of our water.
  According to a study by the Aspen Institute, the Clean Water Act 
stopped billions of pounds of pollution from fouling the water and 
dramatically increased the number of waterways that are safe for 
swimming and fishing. Twenty years ago, you would have had to have a 
death wish to go swimming in Boston Harbor. Today, you don't have to 
think twice. That is because of the Clean Water Act.
  But this is not just about enjoying the beauty of the water that it 
provides to so many communities, although not is not a small thing. 
Look, a lot of people--left, right, and center--people who are not 
political, people on the progressive side, people on the conservative 
side, people like lakes. People like the beach. People like the ocean.
  It is not unreasonable, whoever you voted for, to think that there 
are a few things that government should do: They should probably have 
some kind of transportation infrastructure. There should probably be a 
law enforcement function. Make sure that the water is clean, the air is 
clean, and we have some national defense. Right? That is some basic 
stuff. Even if you are a libertarian, if you are not nuts, you think 
that the government should do a couple of very basic things, and among 
them is to keep the water clean.
  I wanted to share some interactions I have had with the craft beer 
industry. They wrote a letter this week about how important clean water 
is to them. Here is a section of it:

       Beer is about 90 percent water, making local water supply 
     quality and its characteristics such as pH and mineral 
     content, critical to beer brewing and the flavor of many 
     classic brews.
       Changes to our water supply--whether we draw directly from 
     a water source or from a municipal supply--threaten our 
     ability to consistently produce our great-tasting beer, and 
     thus, our bottom line.
       Protecting clean water is central to our business and our 
     long-term success. Not only does great-tasting beer we brew 
     depend on it, but so do the communities in which we operate.

  Some of the largest and best craft breweries in the country signed 
onto this letter, from the Allagash Brewing Company in Maine to the New 
Belgium Brewing Company in Colorado. They are right to be concerned 
because it will not take much for our water to go back to where it was 
in the 1970s. So it is in the interest of many industries for our 
country to have clean water, but not all of them.
  Publicly traded companies will do the minimum. In a lot of ways, the 
way these companies are set up, they are actually obligated under the 
law to do the minimum. They have to maximize shareholder profit. They 
have boards of directors, they have earnings reports, they have 
quarterly obligations. Whether you like it or not, that is the way our 
system works. So, if you have a fiduciary obligation to maximize 
profits, then you may give short shrift to environmental concerns.
  Compliance costs money. So most companies will comply only if they 
have to. If they are good companies, they feel that their obligation is 
to sit down with their lawyers and have the lawyers explain to them 
what they must do to comply.
  But it is a rare company that says: Hey, I want to do much more than 
that. I mean Patagonia is great. There are other companies that do good 
work in the environmental space. But let's be very clear: There are a 
handful of companies that are so motivated, either as a brand strategy 
or a mission-driven approach, that they are going to exceed their 
obligations under the law. Most companies are going to do what is 
required under the law and not much more.
  We can count on someone saying on a board of directors in some corner 
office or someplace on Wall Street: Hey, we can save 3 percent here if 
we don't clean the water. That is why we need a Clean Water Act. That 
is why we need the EPA. It is not a matter of left or right; this is a 
matter of right or wrong. This is a matter of clean or dirty.

[[Page S1318]]

  This is especially important because our work is not done. We still 
have a ways to go. We still can't swim or fish in about one-third of 
our waterways. So these three cornerstones--this foundation of more 
than 40 years of progress--have prepared us to tackle what is the 
challenge of our lifetime, climate change. There was a time when this 
was primarily the concern of the conservation minded among us, people 
like me: hikers, swimmers, surfers green groups, bird and butterfly 
people. Right? I understand that.
  There was a time where this was mostly an ecological concern. You had 
science people, you had hiking types who said: Hey, this thing is 
happening. I read Al Gore's book. This is a big deal. They were 10 
years ahead of the curve. But climate change is no longer just an 
ecological issue; it is an economic issue. It is a quality of life 
issue. It is an American way of life issue. It is causing real harm to 
people and costing us billions of dollars now--not in the future, but 
now.
  In recent years, the United States has experienced a record number of 
devastating storms, extreme temperatures, severe floods and lasting 
droughts. It is not a coincidence. As the climate changes, normal 
weather patterns are altered, and this affects our environment, our 
health, and our economy by influencing everything from the price of 
produce at the grocery store to our home insurance rates.
  So we know that climate change is real. The science makes that clear. 
In fact, our own personal experience makes that real. A lot of people 
fish or hunt or hike or surf or snorkel or go to the lake or just go 
outside and experience something that seems to be changing.
  There is a difference between weather and climate. The weather is 
tomorrow morning's temperature and whether it is raining or not and 
whether it is windy or not. The climate is the conditions that create 
the weather. It is not arguable anymore by anybody credible that the 
climate has changed and, therefore, the weather is getting absolutely 
more volatile.
  Now we can, unfortunately, rely on our own experience and our own 
eyes to confirm that the climate and the weather are getting weirder--
in some cases, more dangerous and certainly more unpredictable. Make no 
mistake, this is caused by humans, and that means we can do something 
about it.
  Climate change deniers need to know that they are on the wrong side 
of history. They can't just cite the cost of transitioning to a clean 
energy economy--a cost that continues to decline, I should point out--
while ignoring the cost of doing nothing, because the cost of doing 
nothing on climate change is absolutely astronomical, whether in storm 
aid, infrastructure mitigation, private property loss, or disruption in 
financial and insurance markets. It is much less expensive to move 
toward a clean energy economy than to allow severe weather to drain our 
economy as a whole.
  As a Senator from the State of Hawaii who has led the way in building 
a clean energy infrastructure--producing clean, renewable energy and 
cutting our dependence on fossil fuels--I know that we can achieve 
meaningful change across our Nation, but we need the EPA and an 
Administrator to achieve this.
  By law, the EPA has the authority to take steps to cut any pollution 
that threatens human health and welfare, including carbon pollution. 
Even the Supreme Court agreed that if EPA found carbon pollution to be 
a danger, the Agency was obligated to act to reduce the threat. So EPA 
has begun undertaking efforts to rein in those emissions.
  Every protection that the EPA creates is the result of years of 
scientific inquiry, stakeholder involvement, public comments, and 
technological feasibility studies.
  For all the talk of Federal overreach, EPA gives an enormous amount 
of authority to the States. For instance, in the Clean Power Plan, EPA 
sets emissions targets--that is true--but it was up to each State to 
develop a plan that is best suited to its unique circumstances.
  The State of Hawaii has a really unique situation because we have 
lots of clean energy opportunities. But in terms of baseload power, we 
get all of our fuel from Asia, and it is LSFO. It is low sulfur fuel 
oil. So what we do is we bring in oil on tankers, which is costing 
three and a half times the national average for electricity, and we 
light it on fire, and that creates electrons. That is not smart. So we 
are in a transition.
  But there are other States that have geothermal resources or biofuel 
resources. So the EPA said: Hey, carbon is a pollutant. You have to 
reduce carbon pollution because, under the law, under the Clean Air 
Act, any airborne pollutant must be regulated, right? You have to 
reduce the airborne pollutants.
  The EPA said: You have to do this over time, but we understand you 
are going to have your own energy mix and your own challenges. All you 
have to do is submit a plan that is kind of like thought through. So 
West Virginia's plan is different from California's plan and is 
different from Hawaii's plan. They empowered the States to endeavor to 
come up with their own energy mix.
  Here is the good news about EPA's rules. This news is on the Clean 
Air Act. It is on the Clean Power Plan. This is always the case. It 
always comes in below the estimated cost because what happens is, if 
you tell industry to innovate, even if they don't want to, frankly, 
even if they complain about it, even if they tell you that it is going 
to crash the American economy, which they often say, they end up 
driving innovation in the private sector.
  In the case of electricity generation and transportation, the Clean 
Power Plan and the CAFE standards, the fuel efficiency standards for 
cars, accelerated the technological transition that was already 
underway.
  Here are a couple of examples. When the auto bailout came in, 
President Obama negotiated very hard for an increase in fuel efficiency 
standards. You can imagine that the American auto industry was 
basically on the ropes. It was about to die without a major bailout. So 
they got the bailout, but there were also some strings attached, which 
were that they bring up fuel efficiency standards. They freaked out. 
And you know what happened? They met the standards. And you know what 
happened after that? The American auto industry has never been stronger 
because people like fuel-efficient cars, right?
  What has happened with the Clean Power Plan and with the Paris 
climate accord and the investment tax credit and the production tax 
credit is that the cost of solar and wind energy is declining. But when 
utilities began thinking about long-term investments in a carbon-
constrained world, the increased demand for clean energy drove down 
these costs even further, which is good for both consumers and the 
environment. In fact, more solar capacity was added in 2016 than any 
other energy source, by far. Solar and wind combined to make up almost 
two-thirds of the new capacity last year.
  I want people to understand that the clean energy revolution is 
underway. The only question is whether we are going to have to take a 
4-year break from this clean energy revolution and give the keys to the 
car to China and other countries, which would be pleased to let the 
United States abdicate its role as the leader of the clean energy 
revolution. We are going to lose all of those solar jobs, we are going 
to lose the innovation opportunities, and we are going to lose all of 
those wind energy opportunities.

  The question is not whether we are going to make a transition to 
clean energy. The question is how quickly and whether the United States 
will drive it or not.
  Consumers loved the first generation of hybrid vehicles so much that 
there were waiting lists to buy them. CAFE standards, along with 
similar fuel economy standards around the world, drove the automotive 
industry to innovate even further. Now we have unprecedented numbers of 
hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles on the road, and we stand at the 
precipice of a new age of electric vehicles.
  So we find ourselves at a crossroads. If we continue down the path 
President Obama set us on, I have no doubt that American ingenuity and 
innovation will allow us to continue to lead the world in the clean 
energy economy, but if we turn back the clock and hand our future back 
over to the dirty fuels of the past, we will cede economic leadership 
to China, India, Germany, and the

[[Page S1319]]

rest of the world. Those countries are moving toward clean energy so 
quickly that we may never catch up; we may never be able to take full 
advantage of the economic opportunities that clean energy represents. 
It is sad, but it is true, that this is the path that our country will 
go on if Scott Pruitt is confirmed to lead the EPA.
  I know for the public, after so many troubling nominees, that it is 
hard to wake up outraged for yet another nominee. But the reason to 
freak out about this one is very simple--clean air and clean water. Ask 
anyone who lived in L.A. or in Boston since the 1970s, and they can 
tell you that our country has clean air and clean water because of the 
laws that were put in place and the Agency that has done its job to 
implement them.
  All of this will be in jeopardy with Scott Pruitt at the helm. He 
made his political bones trying to shred the EPA's ability to enforce 
the laws that protect clean air and clean water. Now this 
administration wants to give Mr. Pruitt the ultimate opportunity to 
lead the Agency that he has worked so hard to undermine. And he hasn't 
hidden the fact that he is utterly opposed to the EPA.
  Let me highlight four statements that he has made that illustrate 
this point. He said: ``The EPA was never intended to be our Nation's 
frontline environmental regulator.''
  The reality is that the opposite is true. The EPA was created for 
exactly that reason. Before the EPA existed, there were a number of 
offices and bureaus across the Federal Government that worked on 
protecting the environment, but the government saw--Congress saw--that 
it wasn't enough. Our Nation's waters were polluted, and the air was 
not clean. People were getting sick and even dying because there wasn't 
enough being done to protect the environment. So the intention behind 
the EPA was absolutely to put a single Agency on the frontlines of 
protecting and preserving clean air and clean water.
  Not only does Mr. Pruitt disagree with the very mission of the EPA, 
but he also doesn't seem at all interested in the work being done by 
this Agency. He was asked during the confirmation process to name a 
single protection on the books at the EPA. Here is his answer:

       I have not conducted a comprehensive review of existing EPA 
     regulations. As attorney general, I have brought legal 
     challenges involving EPA regulations out of concern that EPA 
     has exceeded its statutory authority based on the record and 
     the law in that matter.

  I mean, just as a parent--forget my job as a Senator--as a parent and 
as a citizen, this really concerns me. I don't want to see the EPA led 
by someone who is basically given a softball question in the 
confirmation hearing: Name something you like about the EPA. But he 
declines to go on the record supporting clean air or clean water.
  I mean, you would think that he could just say: Well, I like the 
Clean Water Act; I like the Clean Air Act. He could even offer caveats, 
saying: I think there has been overreach, and I think there needs to be 
a recalibration. Say whatever you want, but he couldn't even bring 
himself to say he supports the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act. 
That was the second comment that he made that was disturbing.
  The third one relates to a Federal standard that targets pollution 
that decreases visibility. Mr. Pruitt had this to say about these 
standards:

       [They] threaten the competitive edge Oklahoma has enjoyed 
     for years with low-cost and reliable electric generation. 
     This low-cost energy not only benefits Oklahoma 
     manufacturers, but gives our State a considerable edge in 
     recruiting new jobs.

  What Mr. Pruitt is referring to is actually another reason why the 
EPA was created in the first place. When States were in charge of 
environmental protections, it was often a race to the bottom. Everyone 
would try to lower their standards so that companies would move plants 
and factories to their State. And the result is exactly what you would 
imagine. Companies were happy to meet the lowest standard possible, 
leaving huge messes for the State to clean up, and that is not a good 
use of our taxpayer dollars.
  It isn't the government's job to allow companies to make a huge mess 
and say: Hey, we will clean that up for you. There is no need to clean 
it up. We have it.
  Let's look at how this has worked out for Oklahoma. I would like to 
read an article by journalist, author, and climate expert Eric Pooley, 
which was published by Time magazine:

       Mercury is a deadly neurotoxin that damages the brains of 
     the ``developing fetus and young children,'' according to the 
     American Academy of Pediatrics. It is spewed into the air 
     from coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources 
     before settling into lakes and waterways and contaminating 
     the fish we eat.
       But Pruitt's challenges against the EPA's mercury standards 
     include a tidy piece of scientific denial, claiming ``the 
     record does not support the EPA's findings that mercury . . . 
     pose[s] public health hazards.''
       After that legal challenge failed, Pruitt sued a second 
     time to block the mercury rules--even though virtually all 
     power plants had already complied with them at a fraction of 
     the expected cost.
       Thanks in part to the EPA rules Pruitt opposed, mercury 
     levels in Atlantic Bluefin tuna are rapidly declining.

  This isn't an abstract thing. If there are high mercury levels in 
fish and people eat the fish, they actually get the mercury poisoning. 
This happens in Honolulu all the time. We like our fish. And people go 
to the ER all the time. They don't know what it is, and it turns out 
that it is mercury poisoning.

       But Oklahomans aren't so lucky. While Pruitt was busy 
     trying to kill national mercury rules, the number of Oklahoma 
     lakes listed for mercury contamination was climbing. This 
     year, the state lists 40 lakes with fish consumption 
     advisories due to mercury levels--up from 19 listed in 2010. 
     Eight lakes were added just this year.
       Another Attorney General might have been trying to identify 
     the sources of the pollution. But Pruitt was apparently too 
     busy suing the EPA.
       Pruitt also attacks limits on ground level ozone. The 
     ground level ozone--better known as smog--despite the fact 
     that ozone problems are huge and worsening in Oklahoma. The 
     latest American Lung Association report gave all Oklahoma 
     counties surveyed an ``F'' for ozone problems and found that 
     the number of high ozone days had increased in most counties 
     as compared to 2010 to 2012.

  The argument in this article can be boiled down to a single phrase: 
With Mr. Pruitt leading the EPA, we can bet that as goes Oklahoma, so 
goes the Nation. I can't speak for the people of Oklahoma, but I can 
say that when it comes to these kinds of statistics on polluted air and 
water, we would like to pass. If you ask most people in this country, 
they would agree that this is not the kind of environment they want 
their kids to grow up in.
  The fourth disturbing statement Mr. Pruitt has made is about lead. 
Because of the EPA we have seen lead levels in both kids and adults 
drop by more than 80 percent in the past few decades. This is one of 
the legacy achievements of this Agency. This is something the next 
leader of the EPA should understand, but the senior Senator from 
Maryland, Mr. Cardin, raised this during a confirmation hearing. The 
Senator asked Mr. Pruitt if ``there is any safe level of lead that can 
be taken into the human body, particularly a young person.'' Another 
softball question.
  Here is how Mr. Pruitt answered him: ``Senator, that is something I 
have not reviewed nor know about.'' This is pretty alarming because 
clearly he does not understand that in just 30 years this is an issue 
that the EPA has taken on as a high priority. This is an issue that we 
need the next leader to take seriously so we don't see any kind of 
backsliding. If you look at Mr. Pruitt's actions, they do, in fact, 
speak loudly about his approach to the EPA. Here is another news 
report:

       The new administration is reportedly looking to close the 
     Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and instead 
     let individual program offices handle enforcement. The outlet 
     inside EPA quoted ``a source familiar with the plan'' who 
     says the Trump administration intends to ``disassemble the 
     enforcement office . . . take it, break it up, and move it 
     back into the program offices.''
       Environmental advocates were quick to point out that Scott 
     Pruitt--the Oklahoma Attorney General Trump picked to lead 
     the EPA--made almost the same move back home. Pruitt closed 
     his office's Environmental Protection Unit not long after he 
     took office in 2011.

  Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 14 minutes remaining.
  Mr. SCHATZ. But Mr. Pruitt did more than close Oklahoma's 
Environmental Protection Unit. He also started a new unit solely 
dedicated to suing the EPA. He closed the Environmental

[[Page S1320]]

Protection Unit and set up a unit to sue the EPA. That is all they do--
the other unit that people in Oklahoma might count on to investigate 
water contamination or illegal dumping. Mr. Pruitt's new unit has been 
quite active. Their office has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against 
the EPA. He has sued the EPA because of the way it tackles cross-state 
air pollution and the Agency's limits to oil and gas pollution. He sued 
to allow air pollution when facilities start up, shut down, 
malfunction, and to stop plans to address air pollution in his home 
State.
  He sued the EPA because he disagrees with the Clean Power Plan, which 
will prevent an estimated 90,000 asthma attacks every year while saving 
American families money on their electric bill. He sued EPA to end 
protections against carbon pollution from new powerplants, even though 
these protections will cost companies very little to implement, and he 
challenged the clean water rule, which the EPA says protects the 
streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our water resources.
  This is not a comprehensive list. I think there are 17 lawsuits he 
has filed. Guess what. Some of them are still pending. Mr. Pruitt was 
asked: Will you recuse yourself from the lawsuits in which you are the 
plaintiff? And he refused. So he is going to be the plaintiff and the 
defendant.
  I am sure Mr. Pruitt is a good person, I am sure he is good to his 
family, but he also needs to be good to the American people and 
faithful to the law: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered 
Species Act. This is the foundation of what the EPA does. He doesn't 
get to have an opinion about those laws. He gets to implement those 
laws. If he wants to run for office, he can run for office and change 
those laws. If he wants to referee what authorities exist on those 
lawsuits, he can litigate, but if he is going to be the EPA 
Administrator, he has to check his ideological baggage at the door, and 
there is only one way we can be sure that he will not take his biases 
to the EPA.
  I don't understand why in his confirmation hearing he didn't say: 
Look, anywhere I brought suit, anywhere I am a plaintiff, I am out. It 
is not unusual for a nominee to say on certain issues: I will recuse. 
There is ample precedent. It was done this year. It is also just plain 
common sense. It is the moral thing to do, the ethical thing to do, and 
it is politically smart because it is a problem that this person wants 
to remain plaintiff and defendant.
  So it is disappointing and it is worrying. The agenda needs to uphold 
the Agency's mandate not to dismantle what the EPA has already done.
  Senator Booker asked Mr. Pruitt how many kids in Oklahoma had asthma. 
Fair question to ask when you consider how many lawsuits Mr. Pruitt has 
filed against the EPA that if he wins will increase air pollution, and 
you can bet that more air pollution will hurt those kids who already 
have trouble breathing. Mr. Pruitt did not know how many kids in his 
home State have asthma, but here is the answer: 1 in 10--1 in 10 kids 
have asthma.
  If Mr. Pruitt takes over the EPA, he is no longer responsible for 
just the kids in Oklahoma who have asthma. He is also responsible for 
the kids across the country and in my home State of Hawaii. There are 
millions of people in the United States who suffer from asthma, and for 
each and every one of them, not to mention the countless others at 
risk, Scott Pruitt guarantees that it will become harder to breathe. 
Scott Pruitt is going to guarantee that it becomes harder to breathe 
because he has sued the EPA to end the regulations that keep our air 
clean enough for us to breathe. Never before in the history of the 
Environmental Protection Agency has a President nominated someone so 
opposed to the mission of the EPA. Look, this administration has made 
it very clear where it stands on climate, on science, on protecting 
clean air and clean water.
  We have seen climate change called the Chinese hoax. We have heard 
rumors that scientists will be muzzled and research stopped. We have 
seen the President sign a law that allows oil companies to hide what 
kinds of payment it is making to foreign governments in exchange for 
extracting oil. So there is no question that dirty energy is preferred 
by the current administration, but that doesn't mean the Senate has to 
be a rubberstamp here.
  We are the Senate, and the United States Senate has a specific role 
under our Constitution and in our history. There comes a time where 
issues related to party have to be subsumed by issues related to the 
health and welfare of the country, and we have strayed from the 
bipartisan consensus that existed for decades and decades and decades, 
the basic premise that it is an American value in every small town, in 
every urban place from coast to coast, and everywhere in between, 
everybody likes clean air and clean water. Everybody at some point on a 
weekend wants to drive someplace or walk someplace and just be outside 
and be able to take a deep breath, enjoy your family, enjoy your 
friends, enjoy not having to work for 2 or 3 hours--go fishing, go 
hunting, go hiking, go surfing, go snowboarding, go skiing, whatever it 
is that people like to do to kind of restore themselves, that depends 
on our commitment to a legacy, and it depends on a commitment to these 
statutes. It really does. It depends on our commitment to the Clean Air 
Act and to the Clean Water Act and to the Endangered Species Act.
  I will just close with this. I have never seen the Senate in such a 
rush when there is not an actual deadline. I mean, we hurry when the 
government may shut down--and sometimes we screw that up too--but 
usually when we are in a hurry like this, when we are doing all night, 
there is a reason for it. I think it is just weird that congressional 
delegation trips overseas were canceled, multiple Members on a 
bipartisan basis were supposed to be meeting with NATO allies about 2 
hours from now, but all of that got canceled.
  Normally our vote is on a Thursday afternoon or a Friday morning, and 
this vote is at 1 p.m. on Friday. That is because somebody is bound and 
determined to get this vote done before those 3,000 emails between 
Scott Pruitt and a bunch of energy companies are disclosed. It is not a 
theoretical thing anymore. There was some talk about whether this was 
going to be disclosed. Now a judge is ordering that these emails get 
disclosed. Now everybody seems to be in an incredible hurry to make 
sure that we conduct this vote before those emails are disclosed.
  I was talking to Senator Whitehouse and Senator Murphy about the 
content of those emails. I don't know what is in those emails, but here 
is what I know. I know the attorney general spent 750 days trying not 
to disclose those emails. I know they are between him and a bunch of 
energy companies. I know there seems to be a strong motivation on the 
Republican side to conduct the vote before we get the emails. And in 
the world's greatest deliberative body, it seems absolutely reasonable 
and consistent with our constitutional obligation to provide advice and 
consent on nominees and especially for a Cabinet position as important 
as this.
  It just seems like we should probably wait to see what is in those 
emails. If I were a Republican on the other side, I would be very 
uncomfortable casting a ``yes'' vote, and I would be waking up Tuesday 
morning, probably at 1 a.m., and checking on the Internet and hoping 
there was nothing explosive in those emails. I hope there is nothing 
explosive in those emails. I don't want to know that we just confirmed 
someone who is inappropriate for the EPA, but we are going to know by 
Tuesday.
  If my concerns are not well-founded, great. We can vote two Mondays 
from now, and we will have a new EPA nominee, but why not wait to find 
out what is in the emails. So I urge a ``no'' vote tomorrow, but more 
than that, I urge that we give ourselves the time to deliberate and to 
be a Senate.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. President, I would like to take this time to share 
with my colleagues why Scott Pruitt is unqualified to be Administrator 
of the EPA and why I oppose his nomination.
  I just got a new job here in the Senate when the people of Illinois 
elected me last November, and I have a little advice for Mr. Pruitt on 
how to succeed in an interview. No. 1, don't go to a job interview and 
spend the entire time dodging questions. You don't tell the people 
interviewing you to go file document requests, which Mr. Pruitt can

[[Page S1321]]

reject as attorney general, and you don't oppose policies that 
strengthen our energy security like the renewable fuel standard. I am 
concerned that the RFS will be gutted under a Scott Pruitt-led EPA.
  As someone who fought to defend this great Nation, I see firsthand 
the price we pay for our dependence on oil imported from our 
adversaries. I already fought a war over oil, and I would rather run my 
car on American-grown corn and soybeans than oil from the Middle East. 
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, 50 percent of all casualties occurred 
during convoy operations, and 80 percent of all convoy operations were 
conducted to transport diesel fuel. I think it is high time we invest 
more energy and more money and more support into development of 
biofuels like ethanol.
  In addition to risking lives, we are wasting resources. Annually, we 
spend approximately $67.5 billion protecting global oil supplies. At 
home, Americans are using more gas than ever before. Yet OPEC has made 
it clear they are controlling the price we pay at the pump.
  For example, in November of 2016, OPEC decided to cut its oil 
production to increase prices, and it caused a 10-percent increase in 
prices that very day. By December 12, prices had reached an 18-month 
high. We should not be risking lives and wasting money when we can use 
energy grown right here at home in States like mine. When we are 
producing more oil at home than ever before, that doesn't mean we can 
gut policies that are helping our Nation become energy independent. We 
need an EPA Administrator who will work with Congress to help us find 
ways to cut, not increase, our use of oil.
  Scott Pruitt called the RFS unworkable. He clearly doesn't know that 
the renewable fuel standard is delivering triple bottom-line benefits. 
It is good for our security, it is good for our economy, and it is good 
for our climate. In my State of Illinois alone, the RFS employs more 
than 4,000 people and generates more than $5 billion in economic 
impact. Nationwide it is supporting 86,000 direct jobs. Those are good 
jobs with good wages. Those are people who are going home and paying 
their mortgages, sending their kids to school, and saving money toward 
retirement. It has helped to generate $8.7 billion in tax revenues that 
go to schools, roads, and first responders.

  Mr. Pruitt's failure to support the RFS is not the only reason I 
oppose his nomination.
  During his confirmation hearing before the Environment and Public 
Works Committee, which I sit on, Mr. Pruitt gave vague, hollow, and 
evasive answers. It was clear that he either doesn't support or 
understand the mission of the very Agency he would like to lead.
  Mr. Pruitt, the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to 
protect the basic ingredients that people need for a good life. It is 
to protect our air and our water. These issues, public health issues, 
are what he has spent his career in helping Big Oil to dismantle.
  Take the issue of lead poisoning. One of the responsibilities of the 
EPA is to enforce our lead contamination laws that keep lead out of our 
air and water. When questioned at his confirmation hearing, I was 
shocked that Mr. Pruitt was unaware that there was no safe level of 
lead for children.
  As a mom, this terrifies me. I remember sitting in the House 
Oversight and Government Reform Committee when we had hearings on the 
Flint water crisis. I am a mom of a 2-year-old, and at the time my baby 
was just 1 year old. I remember being pregnant and having my daughter. 
I looked out into that audience, and I saw a mom holding a baby bottle 
that looked exactly like one my daughter drank out of--a little bottle 
with a pink top on it. The water in her baby bottle that she had to 
make her formula with was brown. It was brown. I thought about what it 
would have been like for me to have been drinking that water while I 
was pregnant and to have fed that water to my child and to have had the 
choice of: Could I have afforded bottled water or would I have to feed 
my daughter that water? It is not acceptable, not in the greatest 
country on the face of the Earth.
  Mr. Pruitt doesn't know there is no safe level of lead allowed in the 
drinking water for children? Even low levels of lead can cause 
permanent brain damage in kids, lower IQs, and inflict other cognitive 
damage. There is no excuse for our Nation's EPA Administrator to not 
know that basic fact. That is a serious oversight, especially in the 
aftermath of the Flint water crisis. Lead in schools and in public 
waterways is a serious problem for Illinois children as well as for the 
children of Michigan. It is a problem for families. It is a problem for 
families and for children all across this Nation.
  The EPA should work proactively to prevent crises like in Flint and 
to protect America's water supplies, but Mr. Pruitt's record of filing 
lawsuit after lawsuit that challenge the EPA's authority to carry out 
its mission doesn't inspire much confidence that his goals are the same 
as the Agency's that he seeks to lead. The American people simply 
cannot afford to have someone with a well-documented history of putting 
corporate polluters' profits before our clean air and water leading the 
Agency that is meant to safeguard them--the EPA.
  We are only starting to learn the extent of Mr. Pruitt's conflicts of 
interest, and we have an opportunity to learn more about these 
conflicts now that a State judge in Oklahoma has ordered Mr. Pruitt to 
release by Tuesday potentially thousands of emails he exchanged with 
fossil fuel interests in his job as the Oklahoma attorney general. 
Senate Republicans are forcing us to vote on Mr. Pruitt before Tuesday 
because they know the American people will be alarmed and shocked by 
what his correspondence will reveal.
  Mr. Pruitt has shown he is unwilling and unable to do this job. I 
remember, during questioning in committee, he was asked what was the 
role of the EPA. He spent the majority of his answer talking about the 
Federal Government not infringing on States' rights and talking about 
pulling the Federal Government and the EPA out of the States' business. 
Only at the very end did he add, almost as an afterthought--oh, yes--
``and to safeguard the water and the air.'' The name of the Agency is 
the Environmental Protection Agency. That should have been the first 
thing he said, not the last.
  He doesn't understand the central public health and environmental 
challenges that face us. Instead of siding with people, he has chosen 
to side with corporate polluters. He doesn't have a single 
environmental accomplishment to his name. He is unqualified, and I urge 
my colleagues to join me in opposing his nomination.
  As someone who represents a farming State, I remember when President 
Trump came out to the Midwest and promised the American farmers that he 
would support the renewable fuel standard. I am deeply disappointed he 
has nominated someone to head the EPA who is clearly opposed to the 
renewable fuel standard.
  I asked Mr. Pruitt several times in committee, in several different 
ways, if he would stand by the American farmer. I even told him what 
the right answer was--side with, stand with, protect the producers, and 
he refused to answer. He gave vague, evasive answers and refused to 
commit and refused to support the American farmer.
  It is a no-brainer. Support the American farmer. Don't break the 
President's promise. Don't back away from the RFS.
  Mr. Pruitt is continuing his administration's tradition of using 
alternative facts. The alternative to facts is fiction, and we cannot 
afford to have an Administrator who questions climate change. Climate 
change is an urgent threat to our Nation. Increasing temperatures are 
causing extreme weather events at alarming rates. We are witnessing 
more intense droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather across this 
country. If we put our heads in the sand and fail to curb the pollution 
that drives climate change, the effects will be devastating as our air 
quality will worsen, which will trigger more asthma attacks and other 
respiratory issues for our children; our coastal communities will be 
threatened by sea level rise; our national security will be threatened 
as climate change creates instability around the world.

  ADM Mike Mullen, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
under the Bush and Obama administrations, had this to say about climate 
change:


[[Page S1322]]


  

       Whatever the cause, climate change's potential impacts are 
     sobering and far-reaching. Glaciers are melting at a faster 
     rate, causing water supplies to diminish in Asia; rising sea 
     levels could lead to a mass migration and displacement 
     similar to what we saw in Pakistan's 2010 floods.

  The National Intelligence Council's report, ``Global Trends 2030,'' 
made similar observations.
  Their report states: ``Many developing and fragile states, such as in 
Sub-Saharan Africa, face increasing strain from resource constraints 
and climate change, pitting different tribal and ethnic groups against 
one another and accentuating the separation of various identities.''
  Climate change, clean air, clean water, and fighting lead 
contamination are not partisan issues. We don't only have these issues 
in red States or blue States--they are universal--and the American 
people expect us to make sure the head of the Agency that is charged 
with safeguarding these vital health priorities will be able and 
willing to do the job.
  Since Mr. Pruitt was nominated, I have heard concerns from thousands 
of my constituents. Let me share a few words that I have received from 
my home State.
  This letter is from one of my constituents from Illinois.
  He writes:

       I am asking you to vote ``no'' on Scott Pruitt's nomination 
     as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. 
     America's clean water and air are a shining example for much 
     of the world, and the EPA is their defender. Mr. Pruitt 
     demonstrates no understanding of ocean acidification and the 
     urgent risk it poses to American marine life, fishermen, and 
     the communities that depend on them. Americans must protect 
     our water and air from further pollution while we work 
     collaboratively toward win-win solutions to challenges like 
     ocean acidification. Mr. Pruitt ignores established science, 
     and he is the wrong choice to lead the EPA. As my Senator, 
     please vote ``no'' on my behalf.

  I hear you, and I share your concerns, and I will be voting no on Mr. 
Pruitt as Administrator of the EPA.
  As you may know, EPA region 5 is based in my State, in Chicago. I 
have heard from a number of EPA employees as well as from 
constituents--employees, both past and present--who are worried about 
the Agency they have served and loved. Here are some words from a 
former region 5 employee.
  He writes:

       Dear Senator Duckworth, I and many other former employees 
     of the Environmental Protection Agency want to share our 
     concern about Attorney General Scott Pruitt's qualifications 
     to serve as the next Administrator of the EPA. Our 
     perspective is not partisan. Having served under both 
     Republican and Democratic Presidents, we recognize the right 
     of a new administration to pursue new policies that protect 
     our environment, but the EPA's Administrator must act in the 
     public's interest and not simply advance the agendas of the 
     industries that it regulates.
       Decisions that affect the public's health or natural 
     resources should respect the law and reflect the best 
     scientific evidence available. Mr. Pruitt's record and public 
     statements suggest that he does not share these values. As 
     Oklahoma's attorney general, Mr. Pruitt issued more than 50 
     press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn EPA standards 
     to limit mercury emissions from powerplants, reduce smog 
     levels in cities and regional haze in parks, clean up the 
     Chesapeake Bay, or control greenhouse gas emissions. In 
     contrast, none of Mr. Pruitt's press releases refer to any 
     action he has taken to enforce environmental laws or to 
     actually reduce pollution.
       Of even greater concern, his statements frequently ignore 
     or misrepresent EPA's authority to regulate or its obligation 
     to do so under the Clean Air or Clean Water Act. Mr. Pruitt 
     has shown little interest in the kind of scientific and 
     factual evidence that must guide EPA decisions. Mr. Pruitt 
     has said that humanity's contribution to global warming is 
     subject to considerable debate. That statement is at odds 
     with the consensus among scientists. Mr. Pruitt fails to 
     understand the difference between the public interest and the 
     private interest.

  It is just amazing to me that we are even here, that this man was 
even nominated--someone who has sued the EPA, someone who has so 
clearly been in partnership with the fossil fuel industry and who has 
not put the interests of families and children first as opposed to the 
interests of the fossil fuel industry, which have been guiding him all 
the way.
  I, in fact, was shocked to learn that Mr. Pruitt closed the Oklahoma 
Environmental Enforcement Unit established by his predecessor. Instead, 
he established a new litigation team to challenge the EPA and other 
Federal agencies. Let me say that again. When he became the Oklahoma 
attorney general, he closed the Oklahoma Environmental Enforcement 
Unit. Instead, he chose to start a new litigation team to challenge the 
EPA and other Federal agencies.
  I did not see any indication from him, in his confirmation hearing, 
that he would not do the same once he gets to the Federal EPA. Perhaps 
that is the intent of the Trump administration, to bring someone in who 
will dismantle the EPA. That is why I am here tonight. That is why I am 
opposing him--because I put the needs of our children, the needs of our 
environment, and the needs of our national security in front of the 
needs of the biofuel industry. We need an Administrator who has the 
patience, skill, and commitment to public service in order to steer the 
EPA through challenges that are associated with protecting our public 
health.
  I, too, cannot believe Mr. Pruitt has demonstrated that he has the 
qualities needed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. I hope 
you will be happy to know that is why I am opposing his nomination.
  A constituent from Deerfield, IL, wrote to me:

       I am writing to ask that you raise your voice in Washington 
     against Scott Pruitt as President Trump's nominee for EPA 
     Administrator.
       The EPA is an organization driven by science and dedicated 
     to protecting the climate and environment, not just for 
     Americans but for all citizens of the Earth. Mr. Pruitt, on 
     the other hand, disagrees with a vast majority of the 
     scientific establishment as to the extent of climate change 
     and humanity's role in it. He has made a name for himself by 
     opposing EPA's policies and missions in the past.
       It is beyond me that anyone believes Mr. Pruitt could 
     effectively head the EPA and lead it further in its mission 
     to ensure we are responsible stewards of this planet's 
     environment and resources. I ask that you do your duty as a 
     citizen of this planet and vote ``no'' on Mr. Pruitt for this 
     position.
       The EPA is an organization driven by science and dedicated 
     to protecting the climate and environment, not just for 
     Americans, but for all nations of the Earth. Mr. Pruitt, on 
     the other hand, disagrees with the vast majority of the 
     scientific establishment. Vote no on Mr. Pruitt for this 
     position.
       I hope you all do your duty as representatives of the 
     American people by vocalizing our concerns with Mr. Pruitt to 
     your fellow Senators, urging them to see the fault in 
     President Trump's nomination.
       Respectfully, Ethan, Deerfield, IL.

  Well, Ethan, I am doing exactly that. That is why I am here today--to 
make sure that our colleagues understand how poorly suited Mr. Pruitt 
is to this job of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  Here is a letter from a Ph.D. student from Northwestern University.

       As a Northwestern University doctorate student, I have 
     chosen to devote my life to the pursuit of scientific 
     knowledge. I am deeply troubled by the nomination of Scott 
     Pruitt, and I am really concerned about the upcoming Senate 
     vote.
       The head of the EPA must uphold basic science and should 
     not be colluding with the polluters they are required to 
     regulate. Scott Pruitt cannot be trusted to head the EPA, an 
     agency that is charged with protecting all Americans from 
     threats to their water, air, and health.
       Pruitt is also out of step with the vast majority of 
     scientists, not only those working in the field of climate 
     change, but also those who have dedicated their lives to 
     protecting our air and water. As a scientific agency charged 
     with protecting the public's health according to the best and 
     most recent science, the EPA deserves to be headed by someone 
     with a scientific background, or at least an appreciation for 
     scientific truth.
       I strongly urge you as my Senator to stand up for me and my 
     neighbors, and I oppose this nomination.
       Thank you so much, Amanda Cook, from North Lakeview Avenue 
     in Chicago.

  Well, Amanda, I get it. I am with you. I, of course, did not pursue a 
Ph.D. in a scientific field, but it doesn't take a Ph.D. in a 
scientific field to know that a man who has sued the EPA over a dozen 
times is not someone suitable to lead the EPA; that a man who said that 
he doesn't know whether climate change truly is scientific fact should 
not be the man who is going to head the Agency enforced with dealing 
with the effects of global warming. He should not be the person who is 
in charge of the Agency that will be protecting our air and our water 
supply.
  We have not even touched on what the costs will be to this Nation if 
we continue to neglect the well-being of our environment. Rising rates 
of asthma of our children will mean higher

[[Page S1323]]

medical costs. Lead in the water supply causing cognitive damage to our 
children will mean that additional resources must be spent in our 
schools in order to provide those children with the best opportunities 
that they can have to grow and thrive and will also result in greater 
medical bills to treat those children for the rest of their lives.
  If you don't believe me, just ask the people of Flint, MI. They are 
dealing with it every single day--every single day--those parents of 
children who have now been affected by the lead in that water supply. 
And Mr. Pruitt chooses to defend and protect the needs of the biofuels 
industry over the needs of our children. That is not someone worthy of 
representing the American people. That is not someone worthy of heading 
this Agency.
  Let's just stick to Mr. Pruitt's own words, not the words of others, 
not the words of my constituents, but his own words. This is what he 
said about the Agency that he has been chosen to lead. Mr. Pruitt 
describes himself as ``a leading advocate against the EPA's activist 
agenda.'' He said this on his LinkedIn page. We accessed this in 
January of 2016.
  On the role of the EPA he says:

       I believe the EPA has a role to play in our Republican form 
     of government. Air and water quality issues can cross State 
     lines and can sometimes require Federal intervention. At the 
     same time, the EPA was never intended to be our Nation's 
     frontline environmental regulator.

  This was his testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space, 
and Technology in May of 2016.
  I disagree with you. I disagree with you, Mr. Pruitt, because I was 
there at that hearing where there were both State EPA officials as well 
as Federal EPA officials trying to explain why they allowed Detroit's 
children to be poisoned. And the Federal EPA official knew about the 
lead in the water supply--in fact, had discovered it--and they were so 
timid about pursuing it that they waited too long and allowed the State 
to continue to move forward. Those Federal EPA officials were indeed on 
the frontline.
  I asked the Regional Administrator, Would you not rather be in front 
of this committee today explaining why you acted too quickly to save 
the health and the future well-being of the children of Flint than to 
be here in front of us today explaining why you allowed them to be 
poisoned, and not exercise your right as the Federal EPA to step in 
when the health and well-being of American citizens were at stake?
  So Mr. Pruitt, I disagree with you. The EPA was indeed intended to be 
one of our Nation's frontline environmental regulators.
  On climate change, Mr. Pruitt has said:

       Global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates 
     of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists 
     continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global 
     warming and its connections to the actions of mankind. That 
     debate should be encouraged in classrooms, public forums, and 
     the halls of Congress.

  Really. He is actually arguing that we should be teaching false 
science and should be encouraging it in classrooms and public forums. I 
can't think of something that would be a greater disservice to America 
than for the EPA Administrator to be someone who actually looks at 
scientific data--proven scientific data, facts--and rejects them. Yet, 
we know why he does. We know from his history. We know from his record 
in Oklahoma. He does it because the fossil fuel industry tells him so.
  This is what he said about the Clean Power Plan:

       The President could announce the most ``state friendly'' 
     plan possible, but it would not change the fact that the 
     administration does not have the legal authority under the 
     Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions.

  Yes, it does. Yes, it does, Mr. Pruitt.
  He just said that in August of 2015.
  Here is what he said on methane regulation:

       My concern is that EPA is employing its flawed methodology 
     in order to rationalize new and unjustified Federal 
     regulations to solve a methane emissions problem that simply 
     does not exist.

  This man does not believe in global warming. This man does not 
believe in scientific data.
  If you don't believe the scientists, at least look at what is 
happening with the storm systems, with what is happening to the climate 
that is changing and affecting this Nation with increased drought, 
increased flooding, more severe weather, and erosion. We had the first 
climate change refugees of Louisiana where people who have lived for 
generations in the gulf have now seen their islands washed away and 
have to be resettled.
  Even if you don't believe in the data, believe your eyes and believe 
the facts.
  Mr. Pruitt also said:

       The record does not support EPA's finding that mercury 
     poses public health hazards. Human exposure to methylmercury 
     resulting from coal-fired EGUs is exceedingly small.

  That is simply untrue.
  On legislating, he has said:

       Legislation should not be ``we like clean air, so go make 
     clean air.'' That is what bothers me, that Congress gives 
     this general authority to EPA.

  On Oklahoma's race to the bottom on environmental regulations--this 
has to do with the Federal regional haze standards--Mr. Pruitt said:

       These standards threaten the competitive edge Oklahoma has 
     enjoyed for years with low cost and reliable electric 
     generation. This low-cost energy not only benefits Oklahoma 
     manufacturers but gives us a considerable edge in recruiting 
     new jobs.

  He would rather increase the haze and the pollution in the 
environment. He would rather have an economic edge at the expense of 
the people of Oklahoma who must live and breathe more polluted air.
  This is what he said on the renewable fuels standard:

       The evidence is clear that the current ethanol fuel mandate 
     is unworkable. The decision by the EPA to lower that standard 
     is good news for Oklahoma consumers.

  What he means is that it is good news for Oklahoma's fossil fuel 
producers. In fact, the renewable fuel standards have been a success 
and we should be adhering to them and we should be keeping the 
renewable fuel standards and supporting the producers.
  I will bet on the American farmer any day of the week. Our farmers 
work hard. Our farmers produce the corn for ethanol right here in the 
United States. I would rather invest in them than in foreign oil. I 
would rather invest in them and in a fuel that is clean-burning versus 
a fuel that pollutes the environment for the next generation of our 
Nation.
  Even if you don't believe in the science, believe in the dollars. 
Ethanol and biofuels employ tens of thousands of hard-working Americans 
all across this great Nation. It accounts for large proportions of the 
economies of the farming States, including Illinois, Iowa, Ohio. So 
even if you don't believe, you should at least support our farming 
communities.
  It is a fact that Scott Pruitt is simply too extreme to lead the EPA. 
He once wrote an entire op-ed questioning the science of climate 
change. He said:

       Global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates 
     of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists 
     continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global 
     warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.

  This is according to an op-ed written by Scott Pruitt in the Tulsa 
World.
  He goes on:

       Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and 
     global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates 
     of our time. That debate is far from settled.

  I agree that healthy debate is important to democracy, but when that 
debate is over and becomes an item of fact, it is just simply silly, 
and in the case of clean air and clean water and climate change, it 
gets to be dangerous.
  His climate denial goes against the scientific community. Ninety-
seven percent of scientists, including those at NASA, agree that human 
activities are causing climate change.
  The 18 major national scientific organizations issued a joint 
statement with the following conclusion:

       Observations throughout the world make it clear that 
     climate change is occurring and rigorous scientific research 
     demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human 
     activities are the primary driver.

  Mr. Pruitt's climate denial is also against the will of the American 
people. In fact, a New York Times/Stanford poll from 2015 showed that 
77 percent of Americans support government action to combat climate 
change. This poll found that 83 percent of Americans, including 61 
percent of Republicans, say that if nothing is done to

[[Page S1324]]

reduce emissions, global warming will be a serious problem in the 
future. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, according to this poll, say 
that the Federal Government should be doing a substantial amount to 
combat climate change.
  In a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll from 2009, 67 percent of Americans 
stated that they supported EPA action to curb carbon pollution from 
powerplants, while only 29 percent opposed them. In that same poll, 57 
percent supported requiring companies to cut emissions even if it means 
higher power bills. This was an increase from 48 percent in October of 
2009 to the poll that was conducted in June of 2014.
  Mr. Pruitt's blatantly anti-environment agenda threatens public 
health. He is unfit to lead an Agency that he sued at every turn to 
block protections for clean air and water. He sued the EPA over the 
legality of the Clean Power Plan. He claims that the EPA does not have 
the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas 
emissions.
  Since becoming Oklahoma's top legal officer in 2011, Mr. Pruitt has 
unsuccessfully attempted to stop vital protections of public health--
unsuccessfully. This includes standards for reducing soot and smog 
pollution that crosses interstate lines; protections against emissions 
of mercury, arsenic, acid gases, and other toxic pollutants from 
powerplants; and standards to improve air quality in national parks and 
wilderness areas. Each time he has done this, he has failed. Yet he 
continues to file suit.

  He did many of these suits in conjunction with the fossil fuel 
industry. Some of those suits are still outstanding. Yet he has said--
he has refused to commit to recusing himself from any of these lawsuits 
that may come in front of the EPA while he is the Administrator of the 
Agency. That is a conflict of interest. He will simply become the 
plaintiff, the judge, and the jury if he does not recuse himself. But 
of course that is his goal. His goal is to dismantle the EPA. His goal 
is to dismantle the Clean Water Act. His goal is to take away the 
authority of the EPA to regulate and protect those activities that 
affect our environment.
  Mr. Pruitt launched three separate failed lawsuits against EPA's 
clean air rules, the regional haze cross-state air pollution rule, and 
the mercury and air toxics protections, otherwise known as MATs. The 
Supreme Court flat-out rejected Mr. Pruitt's challenges to the EPA's 
mercury standards. Thank God, because it protects millions of children 
from the effects of mercury, arsenic, and other dangers neurotoxins 
from coal plants.
  Mr. Pruitt wants to block the EPA's clean water rule, which will 
protect the drinking water for over 117 million--that is one in three--
Americans. One in three Americans gets drinking water from streams that 
lacked clear protections before the clean water rule.
  According to analysis of over 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific reports, 
small streams and wetlands play a critical role in the health of larger 
downstream bodies, such as rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters.
  Mr. Pruitt doesn't even want the EPA to study fracking's potential 
links to water contamination. As recently as 2014, he sent a letter to 
the EPA Office of Inspector General warning against preliminary 
research into threats to water resources posed by hydraulic fracturing. 
He said he believed EPA's efforts to study whether fracking was linked 
to groundwater contamination was politically motivated. He is even 
afraid of a study. Not only is he trying to block the EPA's ability to 
regulate, he doesn't even want the EPA to study it. He doesn't even 
want it to have the chance to develop the data to show that our water 
supply is under danger from fracking.
  This man doesn't believe in scientific data, but he is afraid of it. 
If he weren't afraid of it, he would support these studies because they 
would show that he was right. But here is the problem: He is not right. 
He is wrong. The scientific data shows that such activities pollute our 
water supply.
  Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly failed to act to protect the people of 
Oklahoma from increasingly powerful earthquakes caused by fossil fuel 
extraction through the process of fracking as well. We have had a 
string of level 5 magnitude earthquakes hit the State of Oklahoma. 
Scientists have indicated that they are being caused by a dramatic rise 
in the use of hydraulic fracturing--fracking--to produce oil and gas. 
The problem lies in the massive volumes of wastewater unearthed in the 
process of unlocking oil and gas. Operators typically dump salty 
wastewater, injecting high volumes of fluid into the disposal wells dug 
thousands of feet below the Earth's surface, but the pressure from 
wastewater is wreaking havoc on Oklahoma's fault lines.
  The Oklahoma Geological Survey bluntly concluded last year that it 
was very likely that the majority of earthquakes that ripped through 
the central and northern regions of the State were caused by this 
process of injecting wastewater into disposal wells. This was reported 
by NBC News in November of 2016.
  In 2016, the National Review reported that Mr. Pruitt compared taking 
on Big Oil to offenses committed by the British leading to the American 
Revolution. It said:

       The United States was born out of a revolution against, in 
     the words of the Declaration of Independence, an ``arbitrary 
     government'' that put men on trial for ``pretended offenses'' 
     and ``abolish[ed] the Free System of English laws.'' Brave 
     men and women stood up to that oppressive government, and 
     this, the greatest democracy of them all, one that is 
     governed by the rule of law and not by men, is the product.

  Some of our States have forgotten this founding principle and are 
acting less like Jefferson and Adams and more like George III.
  A group of Democratic attorneys general has announced it intends to 
criminally investigate oil and gas companies that have disputed the 
science behind manmade global warming. Backed by green energy interests 
and environmental lobbying groups, the coalition has promised to use 
intrusive investigations, costly litigations, and criminal prosecutions 
to silence critics of its climate change agenda. This is from the 
National Review.
  He is comparing the efforts to take on Big Oil to offenses committed 
by the British leading to the American Revolution. I will take on Big 
Oil any day. I think it is important for our Nation's future.
  As we have heard during the course of this debate, those of us who 
are troubled by the prospect of Mr. Pruitt becoming EPA Administrator 
believe that the process to this point has been marred by his failure 
to provide us with the information we feel we need to evaluate his 
suitability to serve in this critical role. Meanwhile, our colleagues 
on the other side of the aisle argue that Mr. Pruitt has been fully 
forthcoming. So let's put this dispute aside and turn our attention to 
a question Mr. Pruitt did answer. It may be among the most revealing of 
his responses. Unfortunately, what his answer reveals is the precise 
reason so many of us and so many of the people we represent are opposed 
to his confirmation and convinced he is absolutely the wrong person to 
head the agency.
  Senator Carper asked Mr. Pruitt: Are there any other EPA regulations 
that are on the books today that you do support?
  Mr. Pruitt declined to name a single one. Not one. He has many that 
he could choose from. In fact, the question should have been something 
of a softball, in my view, giving him a chance to embrace the EPA's 
core mission as a public health Agency. He couldn't find a single 
regulation that he could support within the EPA. The man who is 
supposed to be heading the EPA could not think of a single regulation 
of this Agency that he could support.
  Instead, what Mr. Pruitt does not seem to grasp is that EPA 
regulations are not simply policies to be litigated. In reality, they 
are lifesaving protections for so many Americans, and they create 
millions of dollars of net benefits.
  Let's take a look at some of the public health environmental 
protections Mr. Pruitt cannot bring himself to support.
  The mercury and air toxic standards have been projected to save up to 
11,000 lives annually from premature deaths--11,000 lives annually from 
premature deaths, saved because of these regulations. They also prevent 
heart attacks and avoid 5,700 emergency room visits. That translates 
into over $80 billion in net benefits in a single year. That is a lot 
of lives saved, illnesses avoided, and economic benefits created that a

[[Page S1325]]

would-be EPA Administrator can't bring himself to support.

  Of course, we should have expected Mr. Pruitt to name that rule since 
he has sued to block it twice, the second time being after EPA modified 
the rule to address concerns raised by the Supreme Court. Perhaps the 
number of rules we could expect Mr. Pruitt to support is a bit smaller 
than we might have thought since he blocked so many of them. In case 
after case after case, he has sued to block the EPA from working to 
save lives, prevent illnesses, and create economic benefits.
  He has sued on behalf of Oklahoma to block the cross-state air 
pollution rule, otherwise known as the good neighbor rule. That rule 
cuts the pollution that leads to dangerous, sometimes deadly, urban 
smog and soot. When he sued, he was suing to block the American public 
from enjoying the following benefits: up to 34,000 lives saved per 
year, along with some $280 billion in health benefits.
  When Mr. Pruitt brought an action against EPA's health-based 
standards for ground-level ozone, he was standing in opposition to the 
protections that would help avoid 660 premature deaths and over 230,000 
asthma attacks, while creating $4.5 billion in health benefits net of 
cost. Even if you don't believe in the science, you should at least 
believe in the dollars and cents of the lives saved. Yet he continues 
to sue the EPA to oppose these regulations.
  Although Mr. Pruitt has been a tireless litigator, he has not 
challenged every one of EPA's public health protections. But still, 
when asked, the man who wants to become the Administrator of the EPA 
could not name a single regulation of the Agency that he is about to 
take charge of that he supported. That means, for example, Mr. Pruitt 
probably doesn't support a rule that reduces the sulfur in gasoline so 
that emission control devices on cars can work more effectively. Don't 
we all want cars to work effectively? I guess he doesn't. This 
particular rule stands to create net benefits of up to $17.5 billion by 
2030. Those dollar figures include the benefit of saving up to 2,000 
lives and preventing 2,220 hospital admissions and asthma-related 
emergency room visits.
  In 2015, the EPA set standards for the emissions of toxic air 
pollutants at refineries. As a result, 1.4 million fewer people will be 
exposed to cancer risks, yielding a 15- to 20-percent reduction in 
cancer incidents linked to refinery air pollution. According to his 
answer, Mr. Pruitt--who is seeking to be the EPA Administrator--doesn't 
support those advancements in public health.
  He also doesn't support rules that are protecting the brain 
development of our children from exposure to lead in both gasoline and 
paint. Otherwise, he may have answered my colleague Mr. Carper by 
saying that he supported the highly successful gasoline lead phaseout 
that dates all the way back to 1988. That regulation produced health 
benefits to the tune of over $6 billion. He didn't even indicate that 
he supports a rule addressing childhood lead exposure and renovation 
repair and painting.
  Mr. Pruitt didn't even tell us that he supports rules that put or 
keep money in the pockets of families and businesses along with the 
environmental benefits they deliver.
  EPA's greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for cars and 
light-duty trucks are calculated to save families $1.7 trillion--that 
is a ``t''--in fuel costs.
  The EPA's 2012 rule limiting the emissions of volatile organic 
compounds in natural gas production were calculated to create up to $19 
million in cost savings in 2015 alone because of the value of the 
material recovered in the process of controlling emissions. Those 
benefits, however, did not inspire Mr. Pruitt to support them.
  The list of health protections Mr. Pruitt does not support goes on 
and on. It includes health-based standards for fine particles or soot 
which will achieve between $3.7 billion and $9 billion in health 
benefits net of cost.
  All of the rules I have mentioned are just a representative sample, 
nowhere near an exhaustive list.
  When Mr. Pruitt declined to name a single environmental regulation he 
supported, he showed us how little he supports the central mission of 
the EPA, which is not to produce rules and regulations but to take 
action that creates health, environmental, and economic benefits for 
the American people.
  Clearly, along with much of the rest of his record, Mr. Pruitt is 
declining to tell us he does support the health and environment 
protection EPA has established. It shows why he is not a suitable 
candidate to lead this Agency. He has shown throughout his career that 
he has a blatantly anti-environmental agenda, and this agenda threatens 
public health. He is not fit to lead this Agency--an Agency that he has 
sued every single chance he has gotten to block protections for clean 
air and water. I wonder why he does that. I wonder why.
  Well, this might be a reason why. According to the National Institute 
on Money and State Politics--we accessed this in December of last year, 
just a few months ago--it appears that Mr. Pruitt has received over 
$314,000 from fossil fuel industries since 2002. According to them, 
Scott Pruitt has received a total of $314,996. He received $8,201 in 
2002, $76,970 in 2006, $112,150 in 2010, and $117,775 in 2014.

  It keeps growing and growing. I guess he is being rewarded by the 
fossil fuel industry for suing the EPA over and over. I can't imagine 
why they would continue to give him more money, other than the fact 
that he keeps suing the EPA.
  He has used letters written by Devon Energy lawyers to send to the 
EPA. According to the New York Times, he sent a letter to the EPA from 
his own office that was written by lawyers of Devon Energy, one of 
Oklahoma's big oil and gas companies, and was brought to him by their 
chief lobbyist. Their chief lobbyist, Mr. William Whitsitt, at the time 
directed government relations for the company, and had presented a note 
to Mr. Pruitt's office. Mr. Pruitt had taken Devon's draft, copied it 
onto State government stationery with only a few word changes and sent 
it to Washington with the attorney general's signature.
  I don't think that is acceptable, and I certainly don't think that it 
is a suitable way for someone who is going to head the EPA to conduct 
himself.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a January 17 letter from the African American environmental justice 
community leaders.

  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                 January 17, 2017.
     Hon. John Barrasso,
     Chairman, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. 
         Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Thomas R. Carper,
     Ranking Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
         U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senators Barrasso and Carper:
       Please name one achievement by Scott Pruitt, as Oklahoma 
     State Attorney General, that has improved the environment or 
     protected civil rights. Don't bother to Google it because the 
     answer is NONE.
       As the African American leaders of environmental justice 
     organizations, we urge the Senators serving on the 
     Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the 
     confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. 
     Environmental Protection Agency. We are outraged that Mr. 
     Pruitt promises to set back and dismantle the policies and 
     programs we have worked for more than 30 years to develop 
     with community organizations across the nation. These 
     policies were developed pursuant to both federal civil rights 
     laws and environmental laws in order to remove racial 
     disparities in environmental protection.
       As you know, the Senate's Environment and Public Works 
     Committee has scheduled a hearing on January 18, 2017 to 
     examine the nomination of Mr. Pruitt to the office of the EPA 
     Administrator by President-Elect Donald Trump. There is 
     nothing in Mr. Pruitt's record as the current Oklahoma State 
     Attorney General to demonstrate that he would be dedicated to 
     the mission of the EPA, which is to protect human health and 
     the environment. Nor does his career indicate any action to 
     improve environmental conditions in people of color 
     communities, who are disproportionately burdened with 
     pollution.
       Mr. Pruitt seeks to rise to the position of EPA 
     Administrator as a reward for his efforts to block the EPA 
     from mitigating the harmful effects of pollution ``outside 
     the fence-line'' of toxic industries.
       Let's be clear: the people who live beyond the fence of 
     polluting industrial facilities and suffer the acute, 
     chronic, cumulative and synergistic effects of exposure to 
     pollution are predominantly African American and other people 
     of color.
       Mr. Pruitt appears to relish the opportunity to remove 
     standards that are protective of our basic rights to a 
     healthy and safe

[[Page S1326]]

     environment. Case in point: Mr. Pruitt's dogged effort to axe 
     the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan would have 
     devastating effects on predominantly African American 
     communities. The Clean Power Plan requires the reduction of 
     carbon pollution from power plants. It is the first federal 
     air quality standard to establish requirements for states to 
     achieve environmental justice. These requirements are based 
     on the egregious fact that 78% of power plants are 
     disproportionately located in close proximity to people of 
     color and poor communities. The Clean Power Plan recognizes 
     the vulnerability of people of color and poor communities to 
     the disastrous effects of climate change, which is brought on 
     by the burning of fossil fuels. In the U.S., the largest 
     source of pollution driving climate change is power plants. 
     Additionally, this air quality standard direct states to 
     ensure meaningful and effective participation of vulnerable 
     communities in developing state plans for reducing power 
     plant pollution.
       We recognize that the biggest climate and environmental 
     threats to our nation and planet are fueled, in part, by 
     racial disparities in environmental protection. Industrial 
     sites and major transportation routes are disproportionately 
     located in and around predominantly African American 
     neighborhoods, where residents are daily exposed to the 
     smokestack and vehicle emissions that warm the planet as well 
     as trigger asthma attacks and cause other severe health 
     problems. We cannot effectively confront the threats of 
     climate change by confirming Mr. Pruitt, a climate denier, to 
     the post of EPA Administrator. We also cannot pursue remedies 
     for racial disparities in environmental protection with Mr. 
     Pruitt at the helm of the EPA, as he has shown himself to be 
     hostile to preventing pollution that occurs 
     disproportionately in communities of color.
       We need an EPA Administrator who will work to remedy the 
     persistent and pervasive problem of environmental racism that 
     results in:
       79% of African Americans living in polluted neighborhoods;
       African American children being three to five times more 
     likely than white children to be hospitalized or die from 
     asthma;
       African Americans in 19 states being more than twice as 
     likely as whites to live in neighborhoods with high pollution 
     levels, compared to Hispanics in 12 states and Asians in 7 
     states;
       more than 68% of African Americans living within 30 miles 
     of a coal-fired power plant--the distance within which the 
     maximum negative health effects of the smokestack plume are 
     expected to occur--compared with 56% of whites and 39% of 
     Latinos who live in the same proximity to a coal-fired power 
     plant;
       African Americans being more vulnerable than whites to 
     climate change, and less likely than whites to recover from 
     disastrous weather events;
       the percentage of African Americans living near the fence 
     line of a chemical plant is 75% greater than for the US as a 
     whole, and the percentage of Latinos is 60% greater; and
       predominantly African American neighborhoods with 
     households incomes between $50,000 and $60,000 being more 
     polluted than predominantly white neighborhoods with 
     households incomes below $10,000.
       There is nothing in Mr. Pruitt's record as Oklahoma State 
     Attorney General to indicate that he would be sensitive to 
     and willing to help communities throughout the United States, 
     where African Americans and other people of color 
     disproportionately suffer and die from unhealthy 
     environmental conditions, which also contribute to climate 
     change. For all of the reasons stated above, we urge you to 
     take a stand in opposing the confirmation of Mr. Pruitt as 
     EPA Administrator.
       Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to 
     contact Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director of the Deep 
     South Center for Environmental Justice, Inc.
           Sincerely,
       Dr. Beverly Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center 
     for Environmental Justice, Inc; Dr. Robert D. Bullard, 
     Distinguished Professor, Urban Planning and Environmental 
     Policy, Texas Southern University; Ms. Peggy Shepard, WeACT 
     for Environmental Justice; Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., 
     President/CEO, Hip Hop Caucus; Ms. Francis Gilcreast, 
     President, NAACP--Flint Branch; Dr. Charlotte Keys, Executive 
     Director, Jesus People Against Pollution; Rev. Leo Woodberry, 
     Director, Kingdom Living Temple; Mrs. Sylvia Scineaux-
     Richard, President, East New Orleans Advisory Commission; Mr. 
     Hilton Kelley, Founder & Director, Community In-Power & 
     Development Association; Mr. Kali Akuno, Co-Director, 
     Cooperation Jackson; Mr. David Fellows, Dehlson Chair of 
     Environmental Studies, Director, Global Environmental Justice 
     Project, University of California, Santa Barbara; Ms. Sharon 
     E. Lewis, Executive Director, Connecticut Coalition for 
     Environmental Justice.
       Major Joe Womack, Vice-President, Mobile Environmental 
     Justice Action Coalition; Mr. Arthur Johnson, Chief Executive 
     Officer, Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement; 
     Ms. Katherine T. Egland, Chairperson, Environmental and 
     Climate Justice Committee, NAACP National Board of Directors; 
     Ms. Rebecca O. Johnson, Consultant, Road Map Consulting, c/o 
     Common Counsel Foundation; Ms. Donele Wilkins, President/CEO, 
     Green Door Initiative; Rev. James Caldwell, Executive 
     Director, Coalition of Community Organizations; Dr. Mildred 
     McClain, Executive Director, Harambee House, Inc.; Ms. Ruth 
     Story, Executive Director, Education, Economics, 
     Environmental, Climate and Health Organization; Mr. Derrick 
     Evans, Director, Turkey Creek Community Initiatives; Mrs. 
     Dorothy McWilliams, Concerned Citizens for Melia; Rev. Calvin 
     Avant, Director, Unity in the Family Ministry; Ms. Bridgett 
     Murray, Director, Achieving Community Tasks Successfully; Mr. 
     Brian Butler, Communications Outreach, Director, Air Alliance 
     Houston.

  Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. President, as is stated in this letter, it says:

       As the African American leaders of environmental justice 
     organizations, we urge the Senators serving on the 
     Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the 
     confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. 
     Environmental Protection Agency. We are outraged that Mr. 
     Pruitt promises to set back and dismantle the policies and 
     programs we have worked for more than 30 years to develop 
     with community organizations across the nation.
       There is nothing in Mr. Pruitt's record as current Oklahoma 
     State Attorney General to demonstrate that he would be 
     dedicated to the mission of the EPA, which is to protect 
     human health and the environment. Nor does his career 
     indicate any action to improve environmental conditions in 
     people color communities, who disproportionately burdened 
     with pollution.
       Mr. Pruitt appears to relish the opportunity to remove 
     standards that are protective of our basic rights to a 
     healthy and safe environment. Case in point: Mr. Pruitt's 
     dogged effort to axe the Obama Administration's Clean Power 
     Plan would have devastating effects on predominantly African 
     American communities.

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a January 17 letter from the leaders of over 20 regional and nationwide 
Latino civic organizations to Members of the Senate.

  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                           [January 17, 2017]

           Latinos Oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator

       Dear Senator: As Latino leaders, members and 
     representatives of the undersigned organizations committed to 
     efforts that support our communities' health, advancement, 
     safety and well-being, and on behalf of the concerned 
     communities we represent, we strongly urge you to oppose the 
     president-elect's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental 
     Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
       Mr. Pruitt has made a career of suing the Environmental 
     Protection Agency, and has used his office to attack 
     lifesaving public health protections time and time again. His 
     record exhibits a reckless disregard for public health and a 
     deeply troubling contempt for the very mission of the agency 
     he has been nominated to lead. Mr. Pruitt denies the science 
     of climate change, suing to block national standards to fight 
     this crisis; he has fought against clean air protections, 
     opposing the Mercury and Air Toxics standard which would 
     prevent premature deaths and asthma attacks; he has sued the 
     EPA to overturn clean water safeguards for more than half of 
     the nation's waterways, including streams that feed into the 
     drinking water supplies of hundreds of millions of Americans. 
     Scott Pruitt is simply unfit to lead the EPA and, if 
     confirmed, would pose a danger to our communities.
       Latinos overwhelmingly support actions to fight climate 
     change. We recognize the importance of protecting the 
     environment: 97 percent of Latinos agree we have a moral 
     obligation to take care of our environment. In December, the 
     National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40 of the 
     leading Latino organizations nationwide, voiced their 
     opposition to Mr. Pruitt's nomination, stating that they were 
     ``particularly troubled by this choice,'' and pointing to the 
     prevalence of asthma and other respiratory diseases among 
     Latinos living near polluting power plants, truck routes, and 
     factories; as well as the large number Latinos who are 
     employed in outdoor occupations, including agriculture, where 
     they are exposed to health hazards, bad air quality, and the 
     impacts of extreme weather.
       Americans did not vote for more air pollution, toxics, or 
     dirty water, nor did they vote to undo critical protections 
     that safeguard our children and communities. We did not vote 
     for more climate change or dirty energy. Putting the EPA in 
     Mr. Pruitt's hands does just that: he will threaten our 
     children's health, turn back the clock on landmark efforts to 
     clean up our air, water and climate, and imperil the United 
     States' position as a global clean energy leader.
       We call on you to publicly declare your commitment to stand 
     up for our right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and 
     be protected from pollution. We urge you to vote against all 
     legislative proposals that would in any way repeal, weaken or 
     undermine these rights, laws and safeguards. Our community is 
     counting on you to protect us by voting to reject Scott 
     Pruitt's nomination for Administrator of the U.S. EPA.

  Ms. DUCKWORTH. Stated in this letter, it says:

       As Latino leaders, members and representatives of the 
     undersigned organizations committed to efforts that support 
     our communities' health, advancement, safety, and

[[Page S1327]]

     well-being, and on behalf of the concerned communities we 
     represent, we strongly urge you to oppose the president-
     elect's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. 
     Latinos overwhelmingly support actions to fight climate 
     change. We recognize the importance of protecting the 
     environment: 97 percent of Latinos agree we have a moral 
     obligation to take care of our environment. In December, the 
     National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 40 of the 
     leading Latino organizations nationwide, voiced their 
     opposition to Mr. Pruitt's nomination.
       Putting the EPA in Mr. Pruitt's hands will threaten our 
     children's health, turn back the clock on landmark efforts to 
     clean up our air, water and climate, and imperil the United 
     States' position as a global lead energy leader.

  I am also deeply concerned that we are holding this vote so quickly, 
when not all of the evidence of Mr. Pruitt's activities has been 
brought to light.
  The fact of the matter is that we are still waiting for almost 2,000 
emails to be released from his time as the Oklahoma State attorney 
general. Only on Thursday afternoon was there a ruling that said those 
emails must be released. Yet we are going to hold a vote, and my 
colleagues will be forced to make a decision on behalf of the 
constituents of their great States based on incomplete information.
  I don't understand the need to rush this. I don't understand why we 
would hold this vote so soon, so quickly, when there are other nominees 
for other positions in the President's Cabinet whom we could vote on, 
who do not have 2,000 hidden emails waiting to be released, waiting to 
be reviewed.
  I served on the Benghazi Committee in the House. I have to tell you 
that one of the refrains I heard over and over from my Republican 
colleagues, Republican voices, was that they just wanted to pursue 
transparency, and they wanted to see all the emails, and yet the very 
same people who were so dogged not too long ago now don't care to look 
at any emails when it comes to Mr. Pruitt.
  Why is that? Why are we so eager to have this vote? Do you just want 
him to start dismantling the EPA that much sooner? Can't we wait a 
week? I think we are doing a disservice to the gentlemen and women who 
serve in this body. They deserve to have complete information before we 
hold this vote. I think those emails that would be disclosed deserve to 
be looked at. They deserve the light of day--transparency--so that we 
can continue to evaluate and truly have more complete information on 
Mr. Pruitt and his time as the Oklahoma State attorney general before 
we pass this vote.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a February 6 letter from nearly 500 former employees of the EPA to 
Leader McConnell.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                 February 6, 2017.
     Subject: Concerns about Scott Pruitt's qualifications to 
         serve as EPA Administrator.

     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator McConnell and the U.S. Senate: We write as 
     former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
     to share our concerns about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott 
     Pruitt's qualifications to serve as the next EPA 
     Administrator in light of his record in Oklahoma. Our 
     perspective is not partisan. Having served under both 
     Republican and Democratic presidents, we recognize each new 
     Administration's right to pursue different policies within 
     the parameters of existing law and to ask Congress to change 
     the laws that protect public health and the environment as it 
     sees fit.
       However, every EPA Administrator has a fundamental 
     obligation to act in the public's interest based on current 
     law and the best available science. Mr. Pruitt's record 
     raises serious questions about whose interests he has served 
     to date and whether he agrees with the longstanding tenets of 
     U.S. environmental law.
       Our nation has made tremendous progress in ensuring that 
     every American has clean air to breathe, clean water to drink 
     and uncontaminated land on which to live, work and play. 
     Anyone who visits Beijing is reminded of what some cities in 
     the U.S. once looked like before we went to work as a people 
     to combat pollution. Much of EPA's work involves preserving 
     those gains, which should not be taken for granted. There are 
     also emerging new threats as well as serious gaps in our 
     environmental safety net, as the drinking water crisis in 
     Flint, Michigan, painfully demonstrates.
       Our environmental laws are based on a partnership that 
     requires EPA to set national standards and gives states 
     latitude when implementing them so long as certain minimum 
     criteria are satisfied. This approach recognizes that 
     Americans have an equal right to clean air and water, no 
     matter where they live, and allows states to compete for 
     business without having to sacrifice public health or 
     environmental quality.
       Our environmental laws include provisions directing EPA to 
     allow for a ``margin of safety'' when assessing risks, which 
     is intended to limit exposure to pollutants when it is 
     reasonable to expect they may harm the public health, even 
     when all the scientific evidence is not yet in. For example, 
     EPA's first Administrator, Bill Ruckelshaus, chose to limit 
     the amount of lead in gasoline before all doubt about its 
     harmfulness to public health was erased. His action spared 
     much of the harm that some countries still face as result of 
     the devastating effects of lead on human health. Similarly, 
     early action to reduce exposure to fine particle pollution 
     helped avoid thousands of premature deaths from heart and 
     lung disease. The magnitude and severity of those risks did 
     not become apparent until much later.
       Mr. Pruitt's record and public statements strongly suggest 
     that he does not share the vision or agree with the 
     underlying principles of our environmental laws. Mr. Pruitt 
     has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws, a 
     critically important function for EPA. While serving as 
     Oklahoma's top law enforcement officer, Mr. Pruitt issued 
     more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn 
     EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, 
     reduce smog levels in cities and regional haze in parks, 
     clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gas 
     emissions. In contrast, none of Mr. Pruitt's many press 
     releases refer to any action he has taken to enforce 
     environmental laws or to actually reduce pollution. This 
     track record likely reflects his disturbing decision to close 
     the environmental enforcement unit in his office while 
     establishing a new litigation team to challenge EPA and other 
     federal agencies.
       He has claimed credit for an agreement to protect the 
     Illinois River that did little more than confirm phosphorus 
     limits established much earlier, while delaying their 
     enforcement another three years.
       In a similar vein, Mr. Pruitt has gone to disturbing 
     lengths to advance the views and interests of business. For 
     example, he signed and sent a letter as Oklahoma Attorney 
     General criticizing EPA estimates of emissions from oil and 
     gas wells, without disclosing that it had been drafted in its 
     entirety by Devon Energy. He filed suit on behalf of Oklahoma 
     to block a California law requiring humane treatment of 
     poultry. The federal court dismissed the case after finding 
     that the lawsuit was brought not to benefit the citizens of 
     Oklahoma but a handful of large egg producers perfectly 
     capable of representing their own interests. To mount his 
     challenge to EPA's rule to reduce carbon pollution from power 
     plants, he took the unusual step of accepting free help from 
     a private law firm. By contrast, there is little or no 
     evidence of Mr. Pruitt taking initiative to protect and 
     advance public health and environmental protection in his 
     state. Mr. Pruitt's office has apparently acknowledged 3,000 
     emails and other documents reflecting communications with 
     certain oil and gas companies, but has yet to make any of 
     these available in response to a Freedom of Information Act 
     request filed more than two years ago.
       Contrary to the cooperative federalism that he promotes, 
     Mr. Pruitt has suggested that EPA should refrain from trying 
     to control pollution that crosses state lines. For example, 
     he intervened to support a Farm Bureau lawsuit that would 
     have overturned a cooperative agreement between five states 
     and EPA to clean up the Chesapeake Bay (the court rejected 
     the challenge). When asked how a state can protect its 
     citizens from pollution that originates outside its borders, 
     Mr. Pruitt said in his Senate testimony that states should 
     resolve these disputes on their own, with EPA providing 
     ``informational'' support once an agreement is reached. But 
     the 1972 Clean Water Act directs EPA to review state water 
     quality plans, require any improvements needed to make waters 
     ``fishable and swimmable,'' and to review and approve plans 
     to limit pollutant loads to protect water quality. EPA's 
     power to set standards and limit pollution that crosses state 
     lines is exactly what ensures every American clean air and 
     water, and gives states the incentive to negotiate and 
     resolve transboundary disputes.
       We are most concerned about Mr. Pruitt's reluctance to 
     accept and act on the strong scientific consensus on climate 
     change. Our country's own National Research Council, the 
     principal operating arm of the National Academies of Science 
     and Engineering, concluded in a 2010 report requested by 
     Congress that human activity is altering the climate to an 
     extent that poses grave risks to Americans' health and 
     welfare. More recent scientific data and analyses have only 
     confirmed the Council's conclusion and added to the urgency 
     of addressing the problem.
       Despite this and other authoritative warnings about the 
     dangers of climate change, Mr. Pruitt persists in pointing to 
     uncertainty about the precise extent of humanity's 
     contribution to the problem as a basis for resisting taking 
     any regulatory action to help solve it. At his Senate 
     confirmation hearing, he stated that that ``science tells us 
     that the climate is changing, and that human activity in some 
     manner impacts

[[Page S1328]]

     that change. The ability to measure with precision the degree 
     and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are 
     subject to continuing debate and dialogue, and well it should 
     be.'' This is a familiar dodge--emphasizing uncertainty about 
     the precise amount of humanity's contribution while ignoring 
     the broad scientific consensus that human activities are 
     largely responsible for dangerous warming of our planet and 
     that action is urgently needed before it is too late.
       Mr. Pruitt's indulgence in this dodge raises the 
     fundamental question of whether he agrees with the 
     precautionary principle reflected in our nation's 
     environmental statutes. Faithful execution of our 
     environmental laws requires effectively combating climate 
     change to minimize its potentially catastrophic impacts 
     before it is too late.
       The American people have been served by EPA Administrators, 
     Republicans and Democrats, who have embraced their 
     responsibility to protect public health and the environment. 
     Different administrators have come to different conclusions 
     about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and 
     many of their decisions have been challenged in court, 
     sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far 
     enough. But in the large majority of cases it was evident to 
     us that they put the public's welfare ahead of private 
     interests. Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same 
     commitment.
       Thank you for considering our views.

  Ms. DUCKWORTH. The unemotional appeal lays out the facts directly and 
clearly and, as such, reads as a scathing condemnation of the Oklahoma 
attorney general. Stated in this letter it says:

       Our perspective is not partisan. . . . Having served under 
     both Republican and Democratic presidents, we recognize each 
     new Administration's right to pursue different policies 
     within the parameters of existing law and to ask Congress to 
     change the laws that protect public health and the 
     environment as it sees fit.
       In the large majority of cases it was evident to us that 
     they put the public's welfare ahead of private interests. . . 
     . Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same commitment.

  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I come to the floor this morning to join 
my colleagues to speak on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be 
Administrator of the EPA. Like my colleagues who have been out here 
tonight, the great Senator from Illinois, Senator Duckworth, and my 
colleague from Hawaii who preceded her, we are here to talk about the 
importance of our environment and what a critical asset it is to each 
of our regions of the United States.
  Certainly, you can say for the State of Washington that the 
environment is our economy--the beautiful aspects of our clean water, 
the resources of our beautiful mountains and wonderful streams, Puget 
Sound itself, our mountains that so many of my colleagues ask me about. 
These are all assets that make Washington State a great place to live, 
work, and recreate in.
  Our companies would tell you that one of the great things they have 
in recruiting people to the State of Washington is that it is a 
competitive advantage to say their business is located in Washington. 
People understand what that means to the quality of life and to the 
opportunities for those workers. It is with that in mind that I rise in 
strong opposition to this nomination.
  I had a chance yesterday to discuss Mr. Pruitt and to discuss some of 
the concerns that I have with his role as Administrator, and in 
Oklahoma in the attorney general slot, and also his nomination process. 
Many of my colleagues this morning have brought up his record, what 
that record represents, and their concerns about his answers to very 
important questions.
  This is about stewardship. Stewardship is about how we are going to 
manage our resources and apply the laws of clean air and clean water to 
protect not just this generation of Americans, but future generations 
of Americans.
  Mr. Pruitt's poor environmental record--in my opinion, he is choosing 
to side with those companies that have been polluters of clean water 
and failed to protect in an aggressive way the important public health 
issues that were before people in his State.
  Obviously, there is a big discussion tonight. My colleagues have been 
out here discussing whether there is transparency in Oklahoma regarding 
his ability to discuss with them his failures or his successes, if you 
will, in a public process. That is why people have been demanding these 
emails. These important documents are things that, not only the people 
of Oklahoma, but people in the U.S. Senate have a right to have answers 
to as we consider his nomination.
  I join my colleague from Hawaii in saying, What is the rush? What is 
the rush to push forward somebody as an administrator for something 
that is about the stewardship of our air and water--something that is 
going to be important, not just to our generation but future 
generations? We want an EPA Administrator who is going to protect that. 
That is what we want to know: Are you going to be an aggressive steward 
for future generations?
  I had an opportunity a couple of years ago to hear one of the great 
authors who has written all these books about economics. He was talking 
about the great implosion of the economy in 2008, 2009. His point was 
that was going to cost future generations--not just this generation, 
but maybe three generations of Americans were going to be affected by 
that big great recession of our economy. It is the same issue tonight.
  Our future environment is going to be impacted, not just for today, 
but for future generations by what the next EPA Administrator does. It 
is critical that we recognize the important need for clean air and 
clean water now and take steps to be aggressive about it.
  This is something that is important to our State because it is 
affecting us economically. It is affecting us with water and ocean 
acidification, challenging our seafood industry and our food chain, and 
challenging us with wildfires. We want to make sure that we have an EPA 
Administrator who is going to do their job.
  In my opinion, Mr. Pruitt has ignored big polluters and discharge in 
drinking water in Oklahoma. In my opinion, he has not been strong 
enough with regards to the big oil and big mining companies who have 
attempted to undermine what is EPA law. As attorney general, he tried 
to undermine the laws that are already on the Federal books. It leaves 
my colleagues and I questioning, How could he ever stand up for those 
laws if he has spent so much time trying to undermine them?
  He has helped organize strategies and discussions about how to 
aggressively stop the EPA from doing its job. Some of these discussions 
used the example of the Pebble Mine. The Pebble Mine is a mine that 
companies are proposing in Alaska at the headwaters of the largest 
sockeye salmon run in the world, one of the most important sockeye 
salmon runs in the world. So as EPA Administrator, when he is supposed 
to be protecting clean water, is he going to side with those mining 
companies? He spent a whole strategy session with them trying to figure 
out how to overrun EPA. Is he going to be the kind of person who is 
going to help us stand up for clean water so we can have salmon on the 
west coast? Or is he going to join with those who think that you can 
degrade the environment and still preserve these incredible resources?
  I know that people think Mr. Pruitt and his statements about climate 
change are important. I agree because part of that stewardship on clean 
air is basically implementing and carrying forward strategies to make 
sure that polluters reduce pollution in our air and that we come up 
with a plan to diversify energy sources to reduce that pollution. I 
should say his job is not that, but it is clearly to call out what the 
Supreme Court has said is implementation of the Clean Air Act.
  My colleagues, I think, are failing to recognize that Mr. Pruitt's 
hesitancy on this issue is really going to cause problems or challenges 
for us here in the Senate. It is going to cause challenges for us to 
move ahead when we are seeing so much impact.

  I know my colleague from Maine, Senator Collins, and I have asked the 
GAO for an analysis of what climate change is costing us. What is the 
impact of climate change costing us? Why did we ask for that letter 
over a year ago? Because we are seeing devastating impacts in the 
shellfish industry, in the timber industry, in various aspects of our 
economy as it relates to that.

[[Page S1329]]

  In the Tulsa World Mr. Pruitt said: ``Scientists continue to disagree 
about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the 
actions of mankind.''
  That is what he said in the newspaper in Oklahoma.
  I know several of my colleagues and I have further discussed exactly 
this issue, but the United States has made great strides to reduce 
carbon dioxide, and we need to have someone who is going to be 
aggressive about doing more work on this. The consequences of increased 
carbon dioxide have been everything from extreme weather patterns to 
impacts on water quality, which causes impacts to our salmon, to 
drought conditions, which a lot of legislation--various committees have 
been discussing exactly what to do about the drought situation in 
Washington, Oregon and California. I am sure it is going to continue 
into many other States. It is impacting even the chemistry of Puget 
Sound--something I will get into in a minute with ocean acidification.
  To have somebody who doesn't get how aggressive we have to be on 
addressing these issues is very problematic. It is an economic issue.
  I would like to say, as I mentioned earlier, it is about good 
stewardship because it is about future generations and whether someone 
did their job in leaving this place to the next generation, but it is 
also about economic issues.
  Mr. Pruitt failed to be accountable as attorney general in releasing 
emails, and that is so much of the discussion today about his 
nomination. During his confirmation hearing, he repeatedly failed to 
answer questions. And he told Senators: Submit an open records request 
to the attorney general's office--his own office. It is as if Mr. 
Pruitt is taunting our colleagues, not answering the questions about 
his policy, hoping that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
and this side of the aisle will support him, even though he will not 
give us answers on his policies. And then he says: Well, if you want to 
know, you can submit an open records request. We have; people have. We 
want the answers, and a court today has said: Let's give people those 
answers.
  We don't have those answers today, yet my colleagues want to rush to 
have his nomination pushed through when something as important as the 
environment is at stake.
  On average, Oklahoma State government agencies complied with their 
open records request within 68 days. That was the average, yet Mr. 
Pruitt, as attorney general, has taken over 2 years. A few weeks ago 
when a lawsuit was filed against Mr. Pruitt on this very issue, the 
suit requested that he respond to 9 open records requests, asking for 
as many as 3,000 emails.
  As I just said, yesterday, a judge said that he has to turn over 
those records, those documents, and he has to do so by Tuesday. It is 
not a long time to wait. It is not a long time to discuss the concerns 
that our colleagues have with this position. In fact, I would be happy 
to come back on Wednesday and make sure we have consideration then, 
giving people time until Tuesday. But people are pushing us to vote for 
this nomination tomorrow or, I should say today.
  What do my colleagues not want to see in the Pruitt emails? What is 
it that they don't want to know? Attorney General Pruitt has been part 
of close to 30 anti-environmental legal actions. Is that what they 
don't want to see?
  I know one of my colleagues has said he is going to make polluters 
pay. He is going to assure that these issues are implemented.
  Scott Pruitt has sued the EPA 14 times. He fought the cross-state air 
pollution rule. He fought the regional haze rule. He fought the clean 
air standards for oil and gas production sites. He fought the clean 
water rule. He fought the mercury rule twice, and he fought the Clean 
Power Plan four times.
  So are my colleagues interested in giving this job to someone who has 
fought the EPA and tried to stop them from making sure that polluters 
pay? This is what the responsibility of the Environmental Protection 
Agency is, to make sure that we have good stewardship.
  In one case, Attorney General Pruitt failed to pursue a Phillips 66 
refinery in an Oklahoma City, which the EPA found was one of the worst 
polluting refineries in the entire country. Phillips 66, in this case, 
impacted groundwater. That was the pollution in this case. Yet Scott 
Pruitt failed to enforce the environmental laws there.
  As attorney general, Scott Pruitt has been absent in other cases. 
There was a groundwater case and pollution by Halliburton. Where was 
the attorney general in that case?
  In another case, in Bethany, the city's water wells were impacted by 
a toxic plume of chemicals that impacted access to safe drinking water.
  This case is still going on. But the attorney general failed to step 
in and protect those citizens.
  So this is what we want to understand, given what Attorney General 
Pruitt said in his testimony: Ask for requests. Get the emails. See the 
positions.
  That is what we have done. As we can see from his record, he knew 
very well it took a long time, that he had every tool to make this a 
very hard process for people to get the answers. Yet we are now within 
days of having those answers. My colleagues want to go ahead and vote.
  During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt was asked to identify 
lawsuits he filed against private companies in Oklahoma for violation 
of pollution laws. Despite these examples I just mentioned, Mr. Pruitt 
could think of only one specific instance in which he filed a 
settlement after his predecessor completed an investigation into how a 
dozen or so poultry producers illegally disposed of animal waste. So 
let's take a closer look at that case.
  The poultry companies in the northeast corner of Oklahoma were not 
properly disposing of 300,000 tons of animal waste per year. Attorney 
General Pruitt's predecessor had sued the companies for damages caused 
by pollution and forced the companies to change disposal practices. But 
Mr. Pruitt in this case, rather than advocating for the judge to make a 
ruling, negotiated an agreement with the company to do a study on the 
appropriate levels of phosphorus in the Illinois River.
  So while some might say ``Well, isn't that a good step?'' he let the 
agreement expire that was already in place to reduce that waste and did 
not seek a formal extension. He shut down the environmental unit that 
helped start the lawsuit against those companies. This unit was in 
charge of making sure that agricultural waste cleanup and millions of 
dollars to clean up those toxic sites were in place. Yet he let that 
expire.
  So I have grave concerns about whether he is going to be aggressive 
about these issues all across the United States. Is he going to work to 
make sure these laws that are on the books already continue to be 
enforced? Is he going to fight to make sure that clean air and clean 
water--the rights of the citizens here in our country--are preserved 
and preserved for future generations?
  I noticed that in Oklahoma there was question 777, a ballot measure. 
On that ballot measure was Oklahoma's right-to-farm statute that was 
proposed by the Oklahoma Legislature. If the voters in Oklahoma 
approved it, it would have created an amendment to the Oklahoma 
Constitution prohibiting the legislature from enacting laws restricting 
agricultural production unless laws were needed to advance a 
``compelling State interest.''
  I think this is a very interesting demonstration of how people are 
trying to use a process, just like the House colleagues are sending 
over regulatory reform bills. They are going to hide behind regulatory 
reform when in reality they are trying to curtail clean water and clean 
air rules.
  Well, the people of Oklahoma were a little smarter than that. Right-
to-farm laws are not uncommon, and there are currently variations in 
all 50 States. But many such statutes, including Oklahoma's current 
law, protect farmers and ranchers from nuisance claims as long as they 
operate in acceptable practices.
  This question that was put on the ballot to Oklahomans went further 
than the typical right-to-farm law; it would have amended their State 
constitution. The State constitution holds a higher authority than 
these State statutes. So if that initiative was enacted, it would have 
guaranteed that

[[Page S1330]]

agriculture can engage in farming practices without interference from 
the legislature, and it would even have prohibited the public from 
suits. Can you imagine that? I know that that is what some of the 
proponents of these issues want; they want to do whatever they want on 
the land whether it impacts the neighbors or impacts clean air or clean 
water. They just want to keep moving it forward.
  So Mr. Pruitt was in support of question 777. He talked about the 
``intrusive rules from government regulators'' that often ``fail to 
achieve the stated health, safety and environmental goals.'' Well, we 
know we want to have a balance. We can have jobs, we can have 
agriculture, and we can have environmental stewardship. I think we, in 
Washington, work very hard to achieve that.
  Drought issues like we are experiencing in the Yakima Basin got 
everybody to the table--farmers, Native Americans, fishermen, 
everybody. Instead of trying to pass initiatives like this--which, by 
the way, failed in Oklahoma--people said: We need to work together in 
these challenging times of a changing climate and work on preserving 
what is most important to all of us. They have done a good job in doing 
that.
  So what we are looking for is an Administrator who is going to help 
in that process, who is going to continue to make sure we live up to 
these laws that are on the books and help in the challenging times of 
drought and environmental impact.

  Of Attorney General Pruitt's 14 cases against EPA, 13 of those suits 
were joined by the fossil fuel industry. The attorney general has been 
known to send letters to Federal agencies that basically were identical 
to the fossil fuel industry letters; that is, as attorney general, he 
wasn't making his case, he was just making the case for the fossil fuel 
industry.
  The CEO of Continental Resources, a top oil producer in the United 
States--their organizations basically were trying to push Mr. Pruitt 
during his time as attorney general, instead of standing up for clean 
air and clean water. And we want to know what he is going to do in this 
new job--work with Members here in the Senate on continuing to 
implement the law.
  One of the best examples of what I would expect him to do is to 
continue the good work of the Federal Government in protecting salmon. 
Of particular importance, as I mentioned earlier, is the issue of 
Pebble Mine. During his time as attorney general, Scott Pruitt, as I 
said, planned the Summit on Federalism and the Future of Fossil Fuels. 
That is a pretty interesting task to take if you are the attorney 
general of a State, the Summit on Federalism and the Future of Fossil 
Fuels. That summit brought together energy executives with attorneys 
general to strategize against what they thought was so-called EPA 
overreach and how to defeat it.
  One of the key examples they brought up was the Environmental 
Protection Agency's efforts to protect Bristol Bay, AK, from a proposed 
mine that is called Pebble Mine. Pebble Mine is a proposed large hard 
rock mine, as I mentioned earlier, in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. 
Each year nearly 40 million sockeye salmon return to Bristol Bay. In 
total, Bristol Bay supports 29 species of fish, including all 5 North 
American salmon species. That is why Bristol Bay is called one of the 
greatest fisheries on Earth. Bristol Bay supports a $1.5 billion 
sockeye salmon fishery, which provides 14,000 jobs throughout the 
Pacific Northwest.
  Even my colleague, the late Ted Stevens, was opposed to the Pebble 
Mine. I think he knew the great resource and the importance of Bristol 
Bay.
  This fishery, and the people in that fishery, and the tribes of 
Bristol Bay, petitioned the EPA to evaluate the impact of the proposed 
Pebble Mine and what it could do to salmon.
  In 2014, after years of research, EPA finalized a science-based 
assessment of the Pebble Mine called the Bristol Bay Watershed 
Assessment. This assessment found that Pebble Mine posed a direct 
threat to Bristol Bay salmon.
  I am not sure this is a picture of Bristol Bay salmon, but this is 
definitely an iconic symbol of what we are talking about here tonight, 
that thousands of jobs in our State rely on salmon, and the subsistence 
culture of many Native Americans also rely on Bristol Bay salmon. That 
is why so many people weighed in at meetings with EPA and agencies in 
various parts of the Northwest to talk about this issue, because so 
many jobs would be impacted. That mine would destroy up to 94 miles of 
salmon spawning streams, devastate up to 5,350 acres of wetlands, and 
create 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste.
  So you can imagine my concern when the attorney general out of 
Oklahoma decided he was going to take a very lenient attitude on animal 
waste and hold the summit trying to basically figure out ways to 
disrupt EPA's questioning and assertions about Bristol Bay. How far he 
is going to go as EPA Administrator to basically have a negative impact 
on our salmon economy?
  He could have said: It was just a session, and I support EPA's 
actions. But that is not the message we are receiving. The toxic mine 
waste that would exist at Bristol Bay would contaminate massive amounts 
of areas behind the second largest dam in the world, and that mine 
waste would be there in perpetuity in Bristol Bay.
  So the science was very clear. The Pebble Mine was in the wrong 
place, and it was the wrong idea. Large mining companies have come to 
that same conclusion. Just a few weeks ago, an analyst issued a report 
that said Pebble Mine is ``not commercially viable.'' That is because 
of the tremendous costs that are associated with it and the risks 
associated with it.
  After the EPA assessment found that salmon were at risk from the 
Pebble Mine, I definitely want to make sure that Bristol Bay salmon are 
protected forever. The EPA had the authority to basically use a section 
of the Clean Water Act to make sure those Bristol Bay salmon were 
protected. That is what I expect. That is what I expect after public 
hearings, an open process, using the authority. Why would it be a good 
idea to let a mine be located at the headwaters of one of the most 
important salmon runs in the world? Why would we do that? Yet Mr. 
Pruitt took time to join an effort to say: How can we overturn EPA's 
efforts here?
  I need an EPA Administrator who is going to stand up for our 
environment in the Pacific Northwest and protect us on clean air and 
clean water. It is critical that those individuals who were proposing 
this mine continue to be thwarted.

  While the EPA has been close to making sure there are permanent 
protections for Bristol Bay, I am very concerned that this EPA 
Administrator could start this process all over again. That is 
something we can't afford. We cannot have an EPA Administrator who is 
on the wrong side of the Pebble mine issue. They need to protect 
Northwest salmon.
  I would also like to talk about another threat to our environment, to 
our fishing economy that is certainly happening today and why we need 
an EPA Administrator not to be spending their time joining forces with 
polluters, figuring out ways to avoid law, but figuring out ways to 
implement the Clean Air Act that the Supreme Court says we must follow 
through on.
  Last year, Attorney General Pruitt stated that there is a 
disagreement about whether human activity has had an impact on climate. 
When he was pressed on this issue during his hearing, he continued to 
question scientific facts. He said he believed climate change is 
irrelevant to his role as EPA Administrator. Well, I disagree. Climate 
change is not a future hypothetical issue. We are seeing it today, and 
we are seeing it in our State.
  Our fishermen want to continue the great legacy that we have in our 
fishing traditions, and we are going to get to why this picture is 
affected by what I am going to talk about next, but we want to continue 
to have thriving Northwest fisheries. We want to continue to have a 
healthy environment and food chain that is going to allow us to have a 
robust fishery in the Northwest.
  I think our fisheries can be cited as some of the best managed 
fisheries in the entire world. That is how good we are at it. That is 
how scientific we are at it. That is how collaborative we are at it. 
That is how much hard work has been put into stewardship and managing 
the resources and making sure the jobs still exists. I would match that 
with any other part of the United States or this planet. The Northwest

[[Page S1331]]

fisheries are managed well, but they are being challenged. They are 
being challenged by the fact that our climate is changing and that the 
oceans absorb 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions, which 
resulted basically in a changing of the chemistry in our waterways. 
That is right; the oceans absorb 25 percent of carbon emissions. So 
basically they become this sink for the emissions.
  We have scientists who are out on the Olympic Peninsula studying this 
very issue, not for us in the Northwest; they are studying it for the 
entire United States. It is part of our National Laboratory system. 
They are looking at this very important issue and the challenges we 
face from it.
  The fact that the oceans have been the sinks for that carbon has made 
the rate of ocean acidification 10 times faster than anything we have 
seen on Earth in the last 50 million years. In Puget Sound, that means 
that ocean acidification has resulted in massive die-offs of young 
oysters. Juvenile shellfish cannot survive in these corrosive waters, 
and their shells actually dissolve.
  So this economy for us is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the 
shellfish industry. A few years ago, we were successful in getting some 
very minor--I think it was in the definitely thousands of dollars--to 
help that industry figure out what was happening because the shells 
weren't forming. We were able to see that ocean acidification was 
having such a corrosive impact, we helped the industry figure out when 
a better time for seeding was and to get to a point where those extreme 
conditions weren't having their most devastating impact.
  This die-off in 2005 caused a major plummeting of the shellfish 
industry. An industry that employs over 3,000 people in the State of 
Washington. I have met shellfish growers who are fourth-generation 
shellfish growers in our State. So this way of life around Puget Sound 
is important to us. You can go to probably a dozen restaurants here. I 
am sure you could have gone across the street to Johnny's Half Shell 
and ordered a product from Washington State. It would be one of the 
premier products on the menu.
  We have to fight to keep this industry. We have to make smart 
decisions about our environment. We have to make good stewardship 
decisions or those four generations of shellfish growers are not going 
to be here anymore.
  The pollution that is coming from carbon into our water is a big 
deal. How big a deal is it? Well, it is a big enough deal to put on the 
front page of the Seattle Times above the fold--and probably not just 
once, probably several times. Why? Because we live and have a huge 
population around the shores of something called Puget Sound.
  Almost everyone, everyone there understands the importance of clean 
water and a healthy environment to protect this maritime economy and to 
make the right decisions moving forward.

  We don't want to see what happened in 2005 and in 2006. We don't want 
to see that. We want to see more of our shellfish actually able to 
survive the seeding process, and we want to continue to be smart about 
this. This is where the science question comes in.
  If we have an EPA Administrator who doesn't believe this impact is 
happening, if he is going to thwart the efforts to do the research and 
the science, if he is going to spend more time trying to thwart these 
laws than implement strategies to mitigate the impact of climate 
change, we are not going to be successful economically. We need 
technology like ocean acidification sensors.
  Why were we successful at turning that situation around with the 
shellfish industry and making sure? It is because we were able to 
locate buoys in the water to give us data and information about these 
warming temperatures, what problems it was causing, and come up with a 
strategy to lessen the impact of acidification. They measured our 
waters and how to modify growing practices. That is basically what they 
did. If you are denying that climate change is even happening or that 
it is having this impact and you are not planning for it, you are not 
going to go out and help our growers strategize for the future.
  They use that real-time information to increase the production from 
the 20 percent of historical levels that it was to 70 percent, but 
without that data in collaboration with places like NOAA, our shellfish 
industry would have continued to just decline.
  I need an EPA Administrator who is going to support monitoring; that 
is going to understand this impact and do something about it.
  Now why did I have the other picture of the salmon fisherman? Because 
ocean acidification, as I mentioned, basically dissolves the shells of 
important prey species we call pteropods, and they are the base of the 
food chain. So not only am I just talking about the thousands of jobs 
and millions of dollars associated with the shellfish industry, if you 
have so much carbon sinking into our waters that you are destroying 
this part of the food chain, it impacts the rest of the food chain. It 
impacts all the way up the species, including salmon, herring, 
mackerel, and other species. So this is why we have to have an EPA 
Administrator who is going to follow science and be aggressive at 
protecting these issues.
  Last month, a new study published by scientists at the University of 
Washington and NOAA found that even Dungeness crabs are at risk because 
of these pteropods. I think that is what it says right there: 
``Scientists fear ocean acidification will drive the collapse of 
Alaska's iconic crab fishery.'' Thank you, thank you, Seattle Times.
  That is what this is about, are we going to leave it up to the 
newspapers of America to describe the scientific impact of what is 
happening so we can force people whose job it is to be the stewards 
here to do their jobs?
  They should be the leaders, the people we put in this position. They 
should be the ones who lead our Nation in protecting our most valuable 
natural resources and making sure these pristine areas that we need for 
our economy, for our quality of life, for our recreation are there, and 
we need an EPA Administrator who is going to be aggressive about that.
  So that is a little preview of this issue and what it looks like in 
the State of Washington, but on this climate issue, as I mentioned, my 
colleague from Maine and I actually joined forces probably 6 or 7 years 
ago on this issue when the Senator from Maine was aggressive about 
pushing legislation, asking Federal agencies to make sure they had a 
response to climate change. I think the Senator from Maine probably saw 
then how important this issue was, and it was legislation we actually 
passed out of the Commerce Committee. I don't think it was actually 
implemented into law, but it was a very good directive at saying to 
agencies: This is going to impact us, and what is your mitigation plan.
  We, in the Commerce Committee, held a hearing about this because what 
we were finding was that a huge part of the U.S. economy--it was 
definitely a high number, maybe as much as 50 percent--was driven by 
States with coastal economies. A report was issued about how all of 
these changes impacted sea level rising, impact in ocean acidification, 
all of these things were going to impact these coastal economies and 
thereby have a dramatic effect on the U.S. economy.
  For example, just because it might not be front and center for 
somebody from Oklahoma, it was going to become very front and center 
for the U.S. economy if we didn't have a mitigation plan and did 
something about it, and this report was a heralding call for the United 
States to wake up to this issue.
  I will never forget that hearing because the actress Sigourney Weaver 
was there to testify. She was there to testify because she really 
wanted to make the point about how important these issues were, as it 
related to our waters and the impact.
  You would think a brilliant actress like Sigourney Weaver would steal 
the show. You would think her testimony before the Commerce Committee 
would be it. That would be the news of the day, and that is what would 
be written about, but it was actually a fisherman from a Southern 
coastal State who stole the show because he spoke about how his job was 
threatened, how fisheries were threatened, how, if we don't protect our 
oceans and our air, we are going to have devastating effects on our 
fisheries. This gentleman, whose family and livelihood was dependent

[[Page S1332]]

upon it, spoke in such an unbelievably meaningful way, he upstaged her.
  So this isn't something we are coming at just because President Trump 
has nominated Scott Pruitt; this is something we are going to fight for 
every single day because it is important that our Nation have a 
response to it.
  My colleague from Maine was on it a long time ago. She said: Let's 
make sure that every agency is going to have a plan for what we are 
going to do about mitigation and impact as a result of climate.
  As I mentioned just recently, in the last year or so, she and I 
joined and sent a letter to GAO asking them to actually give us an 
estimate across the whole Federal Government. What is going to be the 
cost and impact of these changes to climate on our economy and the 
Federal Government? This is a very important answer to have from the 
GAO because my guess is that they are going to show that it costs a lot 
of money. It is not surprising to me because I have seen it in my own 
State, with catastrophic wildfires that have burned up hundreds of 
thousands of acres of land at an unbelievable cost to the Federal 
Government.
  We are trying to come up with a better strategy for combatting these 
wildfires. We can't get our House colleagues to engage in a serious 
Energy bill process. Hopefully someday we will get them to understand 
that the Senate in a bipartisan fashion did its homework and had 
approval.
  But these issues are not going away. Next summer there will be 
another part of the United States that will be in the hot spot again, 
and instead of making sure we are addressing that, some of our 
colleagues just want to ignore it, just like they are ignoring Mr. 
Pruitt's emails and his answers to these important questions.
  That is the Northwest. Let's look at other parts of the country on 
ocean acidification. Here is an example of a coral reef in the State of 
Florida. In 2016, the University of Miami published a study which found 
that Biscayne Bay coral reefs are already suffering the impacts of 
ocean acidification. I would expect that coral reefs in Florida are 
probably as important to their economy as salmon is to our economy. I 
say that because I know people go to visit those coral reefs. Actually, 
their reefs, according to economic analysis, are worth over $7.6 
billion. That is what coral reefs are worth, apparently, due to their 
importance in recreational and commercial fisheries and tourism.
  Everybody wants to stand up for the fossil fuel industry because they 
have jobs, but they forget the jobs that are related because of our 
environment and how important it is to our economy.
  In this particular picture, we are seeing the devastating impact and 
changes of this coral reef in just a very short period of time.
  This upper picture taken in 1976 shows a very vibrant coral reef. I 
think this is an area where there has been a lot of discussion. I am 
not exactly sure where Carysfort Reef is, but I think there has been a 
lot of discussion here in the Senate about making sure people have 
access to it or what ways the public can enjoy this particular site. 
But when I look at this picture and I look at the devastating impact we 
see on this coral reef, I question what our strategy is to preserve 
what is an important recreational and commercial asset to Florida. What 
is our strategy?
  When I think about an EPA Administrator, are they going to act now in 
balancing this issue and making sure that things like the Clean Power 
Plan, which is saying to polluters: You must reduce pollution--are they 
going to do that for the fishermen and recreationists and those who 
believe in the beauty of these coral reefs in Florida? Just like the 
Washingtonians in my State who go out and recreate on Puget Sound and 
want to fish salmon and want to make sure our fishing economy stays 
strong--are they going to have an Administrator who is going to do 
this?
  I can tell you that next summer I guarantee you there are going to be 
unbelievable discussions about fishing in the Northwest. Why? Because 
there is going to be an impact on salmon, and everybody is going to 
want to fish--commercial fishermen, sports fishermen--everybody is 
going to want to fish, and unless we have an EPA Administrator and a 
NOAA Administrator and people who are implementing great conservation 
strategies, we are not going to be successful because this pollution is 
impacting our natural areas.
  I can see here that it is impacting Florida's economy the same way.
  During an interview, Scott Pruitt's predecessor, former Attorney 
General Drew Edmondson, who served as Oklahoma attorney general from 
1995 to 2001, stated:

       ``Under his tenure as attorney general, I don't think 
     environmental crimes have disappeared. It is just the filing 
     of cases alleging environmental crimes that has largely 
     disappeared.''

  So I think that somebody knows something about this.
  I have constituents who are also writing and communicating to me 
about these issues, about whether they think Mr. Pruitt is the right 
person to be EPA Administrator. It is not surprising that we have a 
quote here from one of my constituents from Poulsbo, WA. I just talked 
about the Puget Sound economy. I just talked about this economy. Puget 
Sound is town after town of communities with fishermen who go out and 
take advantage of that economy within our waters and also go as far 
away as Alaska to fish. So I am not surprised that somebody from Kitsap 
County has written to the Kitsap Sun and said: ``I voted for Trump, but 
I certainly did not vote for a government takedown of my State's most 
important asset, our water and our economy.''
  It doesn't surprise me that that is what somebody in Kitsap County 
said--not somebody in Poulsbo. You should just go look it up, people 
who are listening. People listening, anybody listening tonight from 
other parts of the United States, go look up Poulsbo, WA. It is a 
beautiful community that is all about what Puget Sound can deliver for 
us, and they will be the first part of our State to tell you what ocean 
acidification is doing in Hood Canal to impact our fishermen. They will 
be the first people. They know because this has been part of their 
livelihood.
  So I want to close tonight--this morning, I should say--by saying 
that I hope our colleagues will at least consider the fact that we are 
raising concerns, because we have great concerns about the economy of 
the future, and that economy of the future depends on clean air and 
clean water and an Administrator who is going to fight to implement the 
law.
  We need an Administrator who is going to be there not on the side of 
the polluters but on the side of the people in dealing with some of the 
thorniest environmental problems because of the change in climate this 
country has seen. We want someone who is going to use that science and 
information to help provide the stewardship for future generations. I 
don't think that is Mr. Pruitt.
  I ask my colleagues to help turn down his nomination and to move 
forward--at least give us the chance to look at his emails so we know 
exactly what we are dealing with and to make sure that our country is 
going to continue to be committed to these men and women who work in 
this resource economy that depends so much on clean water and air.
  I thank the Presiding Officer, and I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Thank you, Mr. President.
  There is a lot we don't know about Scott Pruitt. We know that 
thousands of emails between this man and the industry that he is 
supposed to be regulating as EPA Administrator have been suppressed by 
him for years. We know that just yesterday a court found that 
suppression of his emails unreasonable, an abject failure of his duties 
under the law to disclose. Those ought to be alarm bells for the side 
of the aisle that is forcing, jamming this nomination through.
  He told us he couldn't get these emails released for more than 2 
years, and the court ordered him to release the first chunk Tuesday, 
just days from now; the second big chunk, 10

[[Page S1333]]

days from now. So clearly there has been some mischief here, when on 
the one hand this office pretends that it can't get the emails out for 
more than 2 years, and a court looks at the situation and says: No. You 
make them available Tuesday. That is not a sign of good things.
  No. 2, this is a guy who, as part of his political money operation--a 
political money operation that is heavily funded by big fossil fuel 
industry players about whose carbon emissions he will be making vital 
decisions as EPA Administrator. So far, his relationship with them has 
been to take their money and to be their lawyer. That is not a good 
start, either, for an EPA Administrator.
  Here is the other thing we don't know: We don't know about his dark 
money operation. The Rule of Law Defense Fund--the whole reason you set 
up something like that is to hide the source of money that you use in 
politics. That is why the entity exists. It is to take groups like this 
and launder their identities right off of them so that, when money 
shows up, for instance, at the Republican Attorneys General 
Association, it is not attached to Devon Energy; it is not attached to 
ExxonMobil; it is not attached to Murray Energy; it is not attached to 
the Koch brothers or to their front groups--Freedom Partners and 
Americans for Prosperity--it is not attached to the company whose 
billionaire president was his finance chairman for his campaign, 
Continental Resources; it is not attached to the Southern Company and 
to other big energy companies. It just comes out of the Rule of Law 
Defense Fund. The identity of the donor has been scrubbed away. It is 
an identity laundering machine.

  These are the relationships that are forged when you are asking 
people for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and $1 million a year was 
the budget for the Rule of Law Defense Fund. If you are asking for that 
kind of money from these people, it is elementary that the Senate 
should know about that, but our colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle have completely stonewalled this--zero inquiry into the dark 
money operation that this individual was allowed.
  Why is that? That is pretty unusual. Why were we not allowed to get 
these emails? Why were we told: Oh, you will have to line up behind 
everybody else in this FOIA line that I have maintained for 2 years. 
That was an adequate answer to the majority on the EPW Committee, but 
the judge who took a look at that same situation said: No, you get them 
Tuesday. If the chairman had said: No, you get them Tuesday, we 
wouldn't be having this problem. We would have seen them weeks and 
weeks and weeks ago.
  All of the pressure from the majority on this nominee has been to 
cover up this stuff. Don't let it in. Nothing to see here, folks. Move 
along. Move along.
  That is not right. That is not the way the Senate should behave. That 
is not consistent with our advice and consent responsibilities, and, 
frankly, it sets up Republican Senators. If and when it ultimately does 
come out that there is significant mischief exposed in those emails or 
if there are significant conflicts of interest created by that dark 
money operation, the Senate does not look great for having used its 
energy and effort in this nomination to cover that stuff up.
  There is a doctrine called willful blindness, which is the wrongful 
intention to keep oneself deliberately unaware of something. It is a 
culpable state of mind in criminal and civil law. That is the state of 
mind that is being maintained by the majority with respect to this 
individual, and one has to wonder why. Why are there these big things 
that we don't know about Scott Pruitt?
  It is not that we didn't ask. It is that we got told by the majority: 
Run along; it doesn't matter. You will have no support from us. We are 
going to clear this guy anyway. It doesn't matter if his answers to you 
make no sense. It doesn't matter if his answers aren't truthful. It 
doesn't matter if his answers put you at the end of a long FOIA line 
when this is the Senate's advice and consent process. None of that 
matters.
  Just by one point of evaluation, the difference is that, when the 
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works looked at this, they 
said: Run along; nothing here. We are not interested. Don't show us a 
single email.
  And the judge looking at it said to get them out Tuesday--a local 
State judge.
  Since when is the double standard in which Senators are deprived of 
seeing highly relevant evidence? What is being covered up and why? Who 
is pulling the strings around here so that these obvious questions 
don't get answered when you put it side by side with a State court 
proceeding that asks the same question and the questions get answered 
like that. Something is rotten in Denmark.
  It hasn't fooled Rhode Islanders. My correspondence is running about 
50 to 1 against Scott Pruitt. Over 1,000 Rhode Islanders have written 
in against him. Let me just read a couple of their communications with 
me.
  This is from Amanda Tarzwell:

       As a member of the Committee on Environment and Public 
     Works, I urge you to do all you can--

  ``All you can,'' she says--

     to block Mr. Pruitt's nomination as the head of the EPA. My 
     grandfather, Clarence Tarzwell, worked for the EPA and opened 
     the EPA lab in Narragansett.

  Narragansett is a Rhode Island town.

       It is located on Tarzwell Drive in his honor. He is now 
     deceased, but I believe in the work he did and the necessity 
     to protect our environment and continue to work on climate 
     change. Please do everything you can to urge your fellow 
     committee members on both sides of the aisle to do the same. 
     Thank you.

  On the next, her name is right in the letter. So I will read it:

       I am a 23-year-old woman with a bachelor of science degree 
     in wildlife and conservation biology from the University of 
     Rhode Island.
       I am writing to respectfully demand you vote ``no'' on the 
     approval of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency. It is extremely clear that 
     Pruitt is the WRONG choice to head the EPA.
       As someone with an extensive education in environmental 
     sciences, conservation, wildlife and plant biology, 
     chemistry, and physics, I am deeply concerned with Pruitt's 
     capabilities. A climate change skeptic, with no formal 
     science-based education, Pruitt has zero concept of what it 
     takes to make informed decisions about the current and future 
     stakes of our environment.
       Rhode Island is leading the country in many environmental 
     fields, such as renewable energy, environmental protection, 
     and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. We cannot allow 
     a climate change skeptic, with a love affair with fossil 
     fuels, to make important decisions regarding our precious 
     environment and those working hard to protect it.
       I urge you to vote no on the approval of Scott Pruitt for 
     Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

  Catherine Hoyt wrote in:

       I have a special concern for the upcoming vote on the EPA 
     Director, Scott Pruitt. I know you are on the Committee for 
     Environment and Public Works so you are more informed than 
     most people--

  Although, as I just explained, we are deliberately underinformed in 
some very telling ways--

     and I trust that you are unlikely to vote contrary to the 
     interests of our beautiful and environmentally unique coastal 
     State.
       Among other things I do, I am a sailing instructor in 
     Edgewood, in Cranston.

  Cranston is another one of our municipalities.

       I have been sailing in the Upper Bay for about 10 years. 
     Even in that amount of time, the bay is noticeably cleaner. 
     The water is clearer, and there are more birds and fish and 
     crabs and other creatures that signify, through my direct 
     experience, that the environment is healthier in the Upper 
     Bay.
       My anecdotal evidence is also confirmed by scientific 
     reports from URI--

  The University of Rhode Island--

     over the summer that Narragansett Bay is cleaner now than it 
     has been in 150 years. Wonderful. I would be very sorry to 
     see that trend reverse. I am old enough to remember what it 
     was like before the EPA, and I do not want to go back to 
     smog-filled skies, polluted waters, and tragedies like Love 
     Canal and Woburn's poisoned well water.
       I am sure that, if it were not for the EPA and groups like 
     Save the Bay--which is a local environmental organization--
     that the Upper Bay would have become more toxic and polluted 
     due to industrial use, sewage, rainwater runoff, pesticides, 
     and road salt. What is more, I believe that the EPA 
     regulations have been good for business. Because pollution 
     is, ultimately, wasteful and counterproductive, and clean 
     businesses often are efficient and, therefore, more 
     successful businesses. Look at the careful reutilization of 
     materials by companies like Apple, who are investing in the 
     future and their profitability by going further than 
     required. They are nearly cash neutral at this point.

  Some of that is through buying carbon credit, but, clearly, they are 
not

[[Page S1334]]

afraid of being environmentally responsible.

       As a concerned citizen of Rhode Island and America, 
     regarding President Trump's nomination for head of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, I believe 
     deeply that this is not the person for the job, that there is 
     nothing in his background that suggests he has any interest 
     in protecting American citizens and their health and 
     environment from harm. I have never written any of my 
     congressional Representatives in my many, many years on this 
     planet until today.
       I remember the air quality in Rhode Island in the late 
     sixties and through the seventies-plus. Those visible brown 
     clouds, especially in the summer, as pollution and smog 
     drifted from New York or Connecticut towards Rhode Island. I 
     remember the pollution in our beautiful Narragansett Bay. I 
     see the changes ocean rise has already effected.
       Climate change is real, and it is scientifically accepted 
     across the world. I am deeply troubled by Mr. Pruitt's 
     statements and legal actions he has instigated against this 
     Agency. I am asking you to take a stand for the health of the 
     citizens of Rhode Island and the American people. Please vote 
     no when the votes are called for Mr. Scott Pruitt's 
     nomination.

  Here is the last one I will read:

       As a retired Federal scientist, meteorologist, I am deeply 
     concerned that the EPA continue to be an agency that makes 
     decisions about our environment that are based on the best 
     science available.
       Scott Pruitt has a record of supporting policies that are 
     pro-business at the expense of the environment despite what 
     the science shows. How can he possibly be considered as the 
     voice that will fight for clean air and clean water? Despite 
     excellent progress over my lifetime, pollution continues to 
     be a major problem for the air we breathe and the water that 
     sustains us.
       Please join the voices on the Hill that block the 
     appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator. Thank you.

  I wish we could block the appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA 
Administrator. It is really rare to see a nominee for a Federal agency 
who is as unqualified--indeed, as disqualified by conflict of 
interest--as this individual. As for the idea that he is being jammed 
through just as thousands of emails are going to be released about 
him--between him and his big funders and the groups that they funded 
him through--something is wrong. This is not the way the Senate should 
behave.
  The people on that side--in taking all of this mystery, all of this 
mischief, all of the emails, all of the dark money--who are being asked 
to vote are being told: Don't even look at that.
  I can promise you that if the shoe were on the other foot, 
Republicans would be clamoring for emails.
  This is a grim day for this Chamber--what we are doing here, knowing 
of this man's record, knowing of his record of shutting down the 
environmental agency in his home State while attacking the 
environmental agency of the Federal Government while pretending that 
his concern is federalism; right? He has pretended that he thinks that 
the enforcement responsibility shouldn't be at the Federal level, that 
it should be down at the State level. But if that were even remotely 
sincere, he wouldn't have shut down his own office's environmental 
enforcement unit as the attorney general of Oklahoma.
  The common thread here is that he doesn't want any environmental 
enforcement at the Federal level and he doesn't want any environmental 
enforcement at the State level. He shut down the unit. He zeroed out 
the budget. He gave us a bunch of soft soap about how actually he moved 
the environmental unit into something called a federalism unit. But if 
you look at his own website for the federalism unit, the word 
``environmentalism'' or ``environment'' doesn't appear. It is news that 
that is his environmental enforcement section, because it doesn't say 
so on his own website. That was an invention just for the hearing.

  When you look at his own budget, the amount he budgets for 
environmental enforcement disappears. It has gone to zero. When you 
look at the Environmental Enforcement Task Force that his office's 
environmental unit had participated in under the previous attorney 
general, Drew Edmondson, that has disappeared too. He has gotten rid of 
every element of environmental enforcement that he controlled at the 
State level, while taking money from all of the big polluters, while 
having the CEO of Continental Resources--a billionaire--as his 
fundraising chair.
  He took money from the fossil fuel industry through all of these 
different entities--through his leadership PAC, Liberty 2.0; through 
his campaign, Pruitt for Attorney General; through his super PAC, 
Oklahoma Strong PAC--sorry, that is his leadership PAC, and Liberty 2.0 
is his super PAC--through the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which is his 
dark money operation. By the way, whatever the attorney general needs 
is a dark money operation. Really? Through the Republican Attorneys 
General Association, which he raised money for, and who knows what 
else.
  This guy is fully fossil fuel funded. And in his entire career, he 
has dedicated himself to getting rid of and attacking environmental 
enforcement wherever he finds it--at the State or Federal level. You 
can't beat shutting down the environmental unit in your own office.
  So that is what we are looking at. When you look at that combination 
and throw in the secrecy about the dark money operation and this mad 
rush to get this guy through before the week is out in which these 
emails come out, it stinks.
  What we are doing here is a deliberate act of sabotage of the orderly 
and honest operation of an agency of our government. We are putting in 
a person who can demonstrably be shown to be incapable of and 
disqualified for those duties. I think that is actually not a bug in 
this program; that is the feature. That is the feature because these 
same forces that have been behind Scott Pruitt all his life, as he has 
fought all environmental enforcement--State and Federal--are awfully 
powerful in this Chamber as well, and they are obviously calling the 
shots at the White House, where a nominee like this would come from.
  We are in the process of deliberately sabotaging the orderly and 
honest operation of an agency of the U.S. Government, not at the behest 
of a foreign power but after a special interest--the biggest and, in my 
view, the foulest special interest in the world today--the fossil fuel 
industry.
  The fossil fuel industry has become so big and so powerful and so 
mercenary that it has decided its best investment is no longer in oil 
fields or coal seams or fossil fuel processing plants, but in acquiring 
a controlling interest in the Government of the United States. And it 
turns out we come pretty cheap.
  According to the International Monetary Fund, we give the fossil fuel 
industry a subsidy every year in the United States alone of $700 
billion. That is a more valuable prize than any drilling rights or any 
mining lease. To protect it--to protect $700 billion a year--acquiring 
a controlling interest in the U.S. Government is a bargain. One fossil 
fuel front group spent $750 million in the last election. That is a 1-
to-1,000 payback--a 1,000 times ROI--each year that they keep the $700 
billion subsidy if they keep plowing $700 million a year into politics 
to produce results like this nominee for EPA.
  You get benefits once you have acquired that controlling interest.
  Only one Republican has publicly taken a stand against Scott Pruitt, 
the most compromised and corrupted nominee in memory, with huge holes 
of secrecy still around his relationship with the industry he is 
supposed to regulate--nobody else, just the one. No Senators from 
States whose big cities are flooded by rising seas on sunny days, no 
Senator from States whose historic native villages are washing into the 
sea, no Senators from States who are losing ancient forests to pine 
beetles and wildfires, nor from States whose farmers see unprecedented 
extremes of flood and drought, and whose home State universities assign 
responsibility for those new extremes to climate change caused by 
carbon emissions from companies like these--none from the States whose 
fisheries are imperiled by warming and acidifying seas--no one. There 
is just that one Senator. How well this industry is succeeding.
  This EPA nominee may be compromised and corrupted, but he is 
compromised and corrupted by the fossil fuel industry. So there is no 
talking about it on that side. Everybody just studies the ceiling tiles 
when the subject comes up. Nobody will help us find out about the 
thousands of stonewalled emails with his fossil fuel industry patrons. 
Nobody will help us inquire into the nominee's fossil-fuel-funded dark 
money operation. Nobody challenges

[[Page S1335]]

his nonsense answers in the confirmation process. He answered, he 
answered; let's move along, let's move along.

  The dark hand of the fossil fuel industry is all over this 
nomination. This is the wolf being deliberately inserted into the lamb 
fold. It is from the fossil fuel money that fueled his politics--
unknown fully because we refuse to shine the Senate's light into his 
dark money operation--to the thousands of emails between him and his 
fossil fuel industry patrons, only a fraction of which have been 
brought to light throughout our confirmation process, and which were 
only uncorked after his office was sued--not because of any effort on 
the other side in the confirmation process--to the fossil fuel front 
groups that have come out supporting this nominee and are spending 
millions to push him through. Think about that. These groups are 
funding ad campaigns to push this guy through. Obviously, they have 
expectations about how well they are going to be treated by him. 
Through all of that, the sting of this industry's influence is 
profound.
  Just reflect on that last point. A dark money operation is being 
cranked up by polluters to ram the EPA nominee through.
  Here is a headline:

       Energy executives, secretive nonprofit raise money to back 
     Pruitt.
       New group warns that EPA nominee's confirmation ``is not a 
     certainty'' and millions of dollars are needed for the fight.

  There would have been a time when it would have been disqualifying 
when polluters were raising millions of dollars needed for a fight to 
ram through an EPA nominee. This is conflict of interest in plain day, 
but it is a conflict of interest with the right folks around here, I 
guess, and so we don't consider it conflict of interest any longer.
  Whom do you suppose most of the dark money is? Well, we don't know, 
because it is dark money. But who is it usually? Well, the fossil fuel 
industry, the Koch brothers, and their front groups. And what do you 
suppose they want to spend millions of dollars for? What could be 
better for them, the biggest polluters on the planet, than a little 
minion to run the EPA as Every Polluter's Ally.''
  In any sane world, the fact that all this dark and dirty money is 
being spent to ram through an EPA nominee would be disqualifying all by 
itself--but not here, not now, not in a Congress that is so compliant 
to the fossil fuel industry that this alarm bell doesn't even register.
  Fossil fuel front groups sent a joint letter of support for their 
little minion Pruitt. Here is the letter with all of these various 
groups who I think are united in their dependence on fossil fuel money.
  Here is the legendary Heartland Institute. They are that classy group 
that compared climate scientists to the Unibomber. That has been their 
contribution to the discussion about climate change.
  Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans For Tax Reform, groups 
from the State Policy Network--why don't these folks turn up somewhere 
else? They turn up in the research of academics who are actually 
studying the climate denial operation--because it is an operation. You 
can follow the money from the fossil fuel industry out into an array of 
front groups--front groups by the dozen--whose whole purpose in life is 
to make them look like they are not fossil fuel industry front groups. 
So they have names like the Heartland Institute or the George C. 
Marshall Institute, which, by the way, has nothing to do with George C. 
Marshall or his family. They just took the name because everybody knows 
what a respected individual George C. Marshall was. They just took the 
name and went to work phonying up the climate change debate under the 
name of George C. Marshall.
  That is a pretty shameful act when you think what George C. Marshall 
did for this country, but these are not people for whom shame has much 
effect.
  If you look at Dr. Brulle's analysis--he is one of the academics who 
looks at this array of front groups that are fossil fuel funded--this 
group of people, of entities that signed the letter for this guy--they 
show up here too--small world.
  Well, I wonder whom they thought that letter would convince? I don't 
think they expected it would convince many Democrats. Many of us on the 
Democratic side have gone to the floor of the Senate to call out these 
fossil-fuel-funded, dark-money-driven front groups, as the fossil-fuel-
funded, dark-money front groups that they are.
  So I don't think Democrats are very plausible targets for that 
letter. So why the letter? Well, my view is that this was done because 
everyone in this building knows that the Koch brothers' political 
operation is behind all of these groups--many wiggly tentacles of the 
same fossil fuel polluter Hydra. Behind this letter is the same Koch 
brothers political operation that warned Republicans of the political 
peril--not my word, their word--that Republicans would be in if they 
crossed this industry, of ``how severely disadvantaged''--another quote 
from the industry books--``they would be if they dared to do anything 
on climate change.''
  That is what this letter is. It is a signal. It is the political 
mailed fist of the Koch brothers in a front-group glove giving its 
marching orders. In any sane and normal world, this letter by itself 
from all these polluter front groups would be disqualifying, but it 
appears this body will obediently turn the Environmental Protection 
Agency of our government over to the minion of the polluters to join an 
administration dead-set to destroy science with politics. It is like 
everyone on the other side has been sworn to secrecy while this happens 
in plain view.
  This is a heartbreaking speech for me. I perhaps need to start with a 
little personal background to explain.
  Last year, we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor 
attack. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, boys across America rushed to 
sign up for the service of their country. My father and my uncle were 
two of those boys. Both became pilots in the Pacific theater. My dad 
was a Marine Corps dive bomber pilot; my uncle was a carrier-based Navy 
fighter pilot. My uncle was killed over the Philippines. Actually, he 
was under John McCain's grandfather's command--small world--but I doubt 
that Admiral McCain knew who Ensign Whitehouse was.
  My father came home from the war, and he served our country all his 
life, first as a CIA officer and then as a decorated career diplomat. I 
believe he won every award the State Department has to offer, and he 
served in difficult, challenging, poor, and war-torn countries his 
whole life. At the end, he came out of retirement to set up Special 
Operations Command in the Pentagon for President Ronald Reagan.
  I was raised in that life. We were often in dangerous and war-torn 
places, and we were surrounded by American families who faced the 
discomforts, the diseases, and the dangers of those far-away postings 
because to them something mattered. Something mattered to take your 
family to a place where, if your child was sick, there was no decent 
hospital. Something mattered to take your family to a place that if 
your child was bit by a dog, there was a good chance the dog was rabid. 
Something mattered to take your family to places where the electricity 
wasn't reliable, the water wasn't clean, the people weren't friendly, 
and diseases abounded.
  These folks didn't talk about it a lot. Today, a lot of people wear 
their patriotism on their sleeve. It was not really a topic of 
conversation, but it was a thread through their lives that showed that 
in their choices something mattered. They didn't wear their patriotism 
on their sleeves; they lived it.
  The American Government that they served and that my uncle died 
serving was, to them, an ideal. Did America sometimes fall short of 
that ideal? Sure. But I will tell you what: Every other country in the 
world knew the difference between America and everybody else. We stood 
out for what we stood for. Across our agencies of government, for 
decades, many Americans have worked quietly and honorably to advance 
that American ideal.
  At the heart of that ideal is a duty, and the duty is to put country 
first, to put the American people first, even before your own 
families's comfort and safety. That honor and that duty running through 
the lives and service of millions of public servants are the core 
heartstrings of American democracy.
  Into that government, this Trump administration has nominated as 
Administrator of the EPA, a tool of the

[[Page S1336]]

fossil fuel industry, a man who demonstrably will not take his 
government responsibilities seriously because he never has. He has 
never taken EPA's responsibility seriously. He has done nothing but sue 
them. He has never taken his State's environmental responsibility 
seriously. He has shut down the enforcement arm that his office had. He 
will represent with the biggest conflict of interest in history a 
polluting industry whose regulation is actually now the EPA's primary 
public duty. This isn't some fringe question of conflict of interest 
about some question that may emerge. This is the biggest stinking 
conflict of interest I think we have ever seen in this body about the 
issue that is at the center of the Environmental Protection Agency's 
responsibilities. With the most important task before the EPA being to 
control carbon emissions before we push this planet over the climate 
cliff, the industry in question will now rule the regulator.
  Well, this hits home. I have fishermen in Rhode Island who need 
honest environmental policy to protect our seas. ``It is not my 
grandfather's ocean,'' they have told me. ``Things are getting weird 
out there,'' people who have fished since childhood have told me.
  Moreover, Rhode Island is a downwind State from the midwestern smoke 
stacks and a downstream State from out-of-state water pollution. Rhode 
Island needs a strong EPA to enforce clean air and clean water laws 
from harm starting outside our boundaries. My attorney general has not 
shut down his environmental unit, and my department of environmental 
management is doing our best to keep Rhode Island clean and livable. 
But they can't do much about out-of-state polluters. That is where the 
EPA comes in. For a man who so plainly disbelieves in and deprecates 
the EPA's mission, it is an alarming picture for Rhode Island.

  We are a coastal State, and a small one. We don't have a lot to give 
back to rising seas. I have to say, I am sick of having to comfort 
people whose homes have been washed away into the sea.
  This is a picture I took not too long ago. Colleagues who have been 
here for a while might remember this individual. He was the Governor at 
the time, but he was my predecessor in my seat in the Senate, Lincoln 
Chafee. His father served here with enormous distinction for many, many 
years and was actually a Republican chairman of the Environmental and 
Public Works Committee who cared about the environment. He was an 
environmental Republican leader.
  These are houses that have washed into the sea as the result of a 
storm. Sea level rise has raised the level of the ocean so that storms 
throw their water farther in, and they take little houses like these 
that have been beachfront houses for many years and they just pull them 
into the ocean.
  I spoke to the lady who I think owned that house. She was, I would 
say, in her seventies. She had childhood memories of that house. It had 
been her grandparents', and she would come to visit as a little girl. 
What she remembers as a little girl is that she would come out of that 
house, and in front of the house was a little lawn big enough to put up 
a net and play volleyball or badminton. Across from their lawn was a 
little road, just a sand-and-gravel road, but it allowed cars to come 
down and park near the beach. On the other side of the road was a 
little parking area where the cars could pull in. Beyond the lawn and 
the road and the parking area was the beach. Her memories of the beach 
were of sunny days with the sun beating down on the sand, and she would 
get across the lawn and across the road and across the parking lot, and 
then she would just have to scamper as fast as she could on her little 
feet across the hot sand. She described to me remembering what a long 
run that felt like for her to rush down to the ocean where she could 
put her feet into the cool Atlantic waters and swim. That beach, that 
parking area, that road, that lawn, and now her house are all gone. 
These are the things that are happening in my State that the 
Republicans in this building could not care less about--could not care 
less about.
  The math is obvious: When you add heat into the atmosphere, the ocean 
absorbs the heat. Indeed, the ocean has absorbed almost all of the heat 
of climate change. God bless the oceans because if it weren't for them, 
we wouldn't be worried about hitting 2 degrees' increase in 
temperature. We would be worried about hitting 30 degrees' increase in 
global temperature. Because of all the heat that has been piled up, it 
has gone into the oceans 93.4 percent. That is like setting off more 
than two Hiroshima nuclear bombs in the ocean every second. Every 
second.
  Think of the heat of a nuclear explosion of the level that destroyed 
Hiroshima. Think of the--whatever it would be--terajoule of heat energy 
that gets set off by a nuclear explosion. Our oceans are absorbing 
heat. If we measure over the last 20 years how much heat they have 
absorbed, they are absorbing heat at the rate of multiple Hiroshima 
nuclear explosions happening in the ocean every second for 20 years.
  We wonder why Senator Cantwell was talking about strange things going 
on in the oceans. We wonder why my fishermen are saying it is getting 
weird out there. But when all that heat goes into the oceans, there is 
a law called the law of thermal expansion. That is not the kind of law 
we debate around here. That is one of nature's laws. That is one of 
God's laws. That is one of the laws of physics and chemistry that we so 
ignore around here because we are paying attention to the laws of 
politics and the ``golden rule'': Who has the gold, rules.
  But these are laws that we don't get to repeal or amend. What they 
are doing is swelling the seas with that heat. On top of that, in comes 
the water from melting glaciers and there is your sea level rise, 10 
inches of sea level rise that we have measured at Naval Station 
Newport, to the point where we face scenes like this: a man in a kayak 
going down in front of the Seamen's Church Institute in Newport, RI. 
This is not water in the ordinary course. This is a place where 
tourists walk. That is a storefront with water coming through the 
doorway. This was the storm surge, the tide, that came in with Sandy--
which missed us, by the way.
  We have a Coastal Resources Management Council that defends our 
shores, and our University of Rhode Island and Coastal Resources 
Management Council work together to see what is coming. They have 
developed new computer tools to determine which houses are going to be 
lost in what kind of storms, how often this scene is going to have to 
repeat itself in Rhode Island. We are anticipating 9 feet of sea level 
rise by the end of this century.
  My colleagues may think that is funny, that this is all sort of an 
amusing hoax we can talk about, but any State whose coasts are 
threatened with 9 feet of sea level rise, any representative of that 
State has a responsibility to come here and fight to try to defend that 
State.
  When the adversary is the big special interests that is causing that 
and that has mounted the vast campaign of lies I talked about earlier 
to try to cover it--it is $700 billion in subsidies every year--then 
that is an adversary worth going after because that is a dirty and 
wrongful adversary.
  When their representative is going to run the EPA, that is a 
disgusting state of affairs. If Rhode Island had to suffer this to save 
our country for some great goal, if Rhode Islanders had to go off to 
war again like my father and uncle and Rhode Islanders have since the 
first battles in Portsmouth, RI, the Revolutionary War, we would saddle 
up--sign us up--to take on whatever we need to defend this great 
country, but don't ask us to take a hit like this to protect a big 
special interest.
  The arrogance and the greed of the fossil fuel industry and the dirty 
things it is willing to do to advance its interests knows no bounds. It 
lobbies Congress mercilessly against any action on climate change, and 
it has for years.
  It runs a massive political electioneering operation of dark money 
and false attacks to prevent any action on climate change, and it has 
for years. It operates that giant array of front groups, a multi-
tentacled, science-denial apparatus to put out streams of calculated 
misinformation. It does this all to protect what that International 
Monetary Fund report identified as a $700 billion annual subsidy.
  What would big corporations do to protect $700 billion? Well, we are 
finding out. For years, the fossil fuel industry has been deliberately 
sabotaging

[[Page S1337]]

the honest and orderly operation of the legislative branch of America's 
government to protect its subsidy. With this appointment, it would be 
able to corrupt and sabotage the EPA.
  I use the word ``corrupt'' because this is indeed the very definition 
of corruption in government. This is government corruption in plain 
view. In the Supreme Court decision Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of 
Commerce, here is how the U.S. Supreme Court described corruption. The 
Court described it as ``the corrosive and distorting effects of immense 
aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of the 
corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public's 
support for the corporation's political ideas.''
  Back we go to this network of false front operations, established by 
immense aggregations of wealth that are accumulated with the help of a 
corporate form and that have little or no correlation to the public 
support for the corporation's ideas.
  We got some interesting polling recently. The George Mason University 
went out recently and conducted a poll of Trump voters. What did Trump 
voters think? It turns out that more than 6 in 10 Trump voters support 
taxing and/or regulating the pollution that causes global warming. In 
general, Trump voters were asked: Which of these two approaches to 
reducing the pollution that causes global warming do you prefer? Well, 
16 percent said: I don't know; 21 percent said: Do nothing; but 13 
percent of Trump voters said: Tax pollution; 18 percent said: Regulate 
pollution; and 31 percent said: Tax pollution and regulate pollution.
  That adds up to more than 6 out of 10 Trump voters thinking that the 
pollution that causes climate change should be taxed or should be 
regulated or should be taxed and regulated.
  When you go back to the Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce 
definition of corruption and look at the section that says that the 
policies pushed by the massive aggregations of wealth accumulated with 
the help of the corporate form want to go one way and the public wants 
to go another way and the corporate powers' views have little or no 
correlation to the public support for the corporation's political 
ideas, well, heck, we know Democrats support doing stuff about climate 
change.
  It turns out Trump voters do too. The public is actually happy to get 
something done. It is this mess that is stopping us. It is groups that 
spend $700 million in a single election to influence Congress that is 
the problem, not the American public.
  Teddy Roosevelt described corruption this way. He described 
corruption as a sinister alliance between crooked politics and crooked 
business, which he said has done more than anything else for the 
corruption of American life against the genuine rule of the people 
themselves.

  If you look at the influence of Big Business--particularly the fossil 
fuel business--it has been something else around here. I was elected in 
2006. I was sworn in, in the Senate, in 2007. When I was first here in 
those early years, there was a Republican climate bill floating around 
the Senate virtually all the time.
  My recollection is that there were five Republican cosponsored 
climate bills during my time there. Susan Collins did a climate bill 
with Senator Cantwell; Senator John Warner of Virginia, Republican, did 
a bill with Senator Lieberman; Senator Graham worked on a bill with 
Senator Kerry; Senator Lamar Alexander had a bill of his own; and 
Senator McCain supported climate legislation and ran for President of 
the United States on a strong climate change platform. And then came 
2010. Then came a decision called Citizens United, which the fossil 
fuel industry asked for, expected, and immediately acted on when it 
came out, and it said to the big special interests: Go for it, boys; 
spend all you want in politics. We five Republican appointees to the 
Supreme Court are going to make the comically false finding that 
nothing you can do with unlimited money could possibly ever corrupt 
American democracy or could possibly even be seen as corrupting by the 
American public.
  Of course, that is such hogwash that right now the Supreme Court is 
viewed by people who have been polled on this question as not likely to 
give a human being a fair shake against a corporation.
  If I remember correctly, the numbers were 54 to 6. In a polling group 
of 100, 6 Americans believe they could get a fair shot in the Supreme 
Court against corporations and 54 believed they could not get, as human 
beings, a fair shot in the U.S. Supreme Court against a big 
corporation, but with the big corporations at the Supreme Court, the 
fix was in--not a great place for the Court to be when by 9-to-1 
American human beings think they can't get a fair shot in front of that 
Court against a corporation.
  They did deliver, and they delivered Citizens United and opened the 
floodgates. The next thing out there was groups like Americans for 
Prosperity, the front group for the Koch brothers, Donors Trust, which 
launders away the identity of big corporations like ExxonMobil, and all 
of these other front groups we looked at earlier, and they are spending 
immense amounts of money. The result is, if there was a heartbeat of 
activity on climate change with Republicans before Citizens United, it 
has been a flat line since. That has been the story behind this.
  Not only has dark money poisoned our conversation about climate 
change, this guy actually ran his own dark money operation. His Rule of 
Law Defense Fund, a 501(c)4 organization that does not disclose its 
donors have been linked to the Koch brothers, who run one of the 
biggest polluting operations in the country, but we don't really know. 
We don't really know. It has been kept absolutely quiet.
  There is a black hole of secrecy around this nominee's dark money 
operation; whom he raised it from, what the quid pro quo was, what he 
did with it. Not allowed to know. Move along. Move along. It doesn't 
matter.
  This is a test. This is a test of the Senate. Will this nominee ever 
tell us exactly what his relationship with the fossil fuel industry is? 
Will we get these emails in time to make an informed decision before 
his nomination is rammed through one step ahead of the emails that the 
judge said had to be released?
  I can't get over the fact that this guy covered up the emails for 
750-plus days for more than 2 years and a judge said: No, get them out 
Tuesday. And they are going to get them out Tuesday. The second chunk, 
you have 10 days to get them out. He sat there in our committee and 
acted as if this was some huge terrible task that he couldn't possibly 
get done; that with 2 years to do it, he couldn't get a single email 
out. By the time of our hearing, zero of those thousands of emails had 
come out. A judge took a look the same situation and said: Do it 
Tuesday. And they are doing it.
  We have been so deliberately stonewalled, and it has been so 
painfully and plainly made clear by what the judge has ordered. We are 
not passing this test of how a Senate should act.
  President-Elect Trump promised to restore genuine rule of the people 
themselves. Remember, Teddy Roosevelt's quote that the sinister 
alliance between crooked politics and crooked business has done more 
than anything else for the corruption of American life against the 
genuine rule of the people themselves. President Trump promised to 
restore genuine rule to people and themselves, and yet it is looking 
more and more like shadowy and industry-funded groups will really run 
our government.
  This is a test also for the rest of corporate America. A lot of 
corporate America has good climate policy. Most of corporate America 
has good climate policy, but when are they going to stand up about an 
EPA Administrator who is the minion of the fossil fuel industry? What 
will Coca-Cola say to the Georgia Senators? What will Walmart ask of 
its Arkansas Senators? What will VF Corporation urge its North Carolina 
Senators to do? How will Rio Tinto advise its Senators from Arizona? 
All these companies have taken important stands on global warming. Why 
not now?

  Let's talk about the due diligence that a nomination like this should 
get, particularly the due diligence about climate change that the 
present urgency demands. I wondered what due diligence my colleagues 
have done to

[[Page S1338]]

assess the reality of climate change before making this fateful and 
foul vote. The fossil fuel fox is on its way to the henhouse now, and I 
challenge the colleagues who will have put him there: Have you gone to 
your home State university for a briefing on climate science to 
understand what your own universities are teaching?
  This nominee, Mr. Pruitt, never had. When we met in my office, he 
didn't even know who Berrien Moore was. Berrien Moore is the dean of 
the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of 
Oklahoma. He is a nationally renowned climate scientist. Before this 
nominee and I met in my office, for all this nominee's years of 
litigation against doing anything about climate change, he had never 
bothered to go to his own University of Oklahoma and find out from 
there, his home State expert, what climate change was, how it worked, 
and what it meant. Why not? The most logical answer is because he 
didn't care to know. He had already chosen sides and had been richly 
rewarded for doing so, although we don't know exactly how richly, since 
his dark money operation is still a secret, protected by the Senate 
Republicans who are shoving this nomination through.
  Here is what Mr. Pruitt would have found out if he had bothered to go 
to the University of Oklahoma to ask the dean about climate change. The 
dean of the University of Oklahoma's College of Atmospheric and 
Geographic Sciences has said: ``On the increasing strength of earth 
sciences, we can now state that global warming is `unequivocal.' ''
  The fact that the planet's warming and the fact that CO2 
is a greenhouse gas and the fact that it is increasing in the 
atmosphere and that increases in the atmosphere due to humans--about 
those things? There is no debate.
  He has said:

       We know precisely how fast CO2 is going up in 
     the atmosphere. We have made a daily measurement of it since 
     1957. We have ice-core data before that.

  He continued:

       We know without any question, that it has increased almost 
     40 percent since the industrial revolution, and that increase 
     is due to human activity primarily fossil-fuel burning.

  Those are the words of the dean at the University of Oklahoma, who is 
the expert in this subject. And Mr. Pruitt had never bothered to 
actually ever ask him. The fossil fuel industry had told him all he 
needed to know, and that is going to be a continuing problem with him 
as EPA Administrator.
  I thought to myself, have any of the Senators on the Environment and 
Public Works Committee, who voted for this nominee out of committee, 
done any better? Which Senator on that committee has been troubled to 
go for, say, half a day, to their own home State university and get a 
briefing on climate science? As I have said, this matters to Rhode 
Island because we are a downwind State. We have had bad air days where 
little kids and seniors and people with breathing difficulties are 
supposed to stay indoors in the air conditioning, not go outside. We 
are seeing warming rising, acidifying seas along our shores, hurting 
our fishermen, causing those families to lose those coastal homes I 
showed.
  And the hits are just going to keep on coming. A child born today at 
Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, RI, can expect to see upward of 
9 feet of sea level rise raging on Rhode Island shores in her lifetime, 
according to the University of Rhode Island and our State agencies.
  Well, it seems to me the least a downwind State like Rhode Island 
might expect is some modicum of due diligence by colleagues who are 
blocking action on this subject. At the University of Rhode Island, the 
due diligence is very clear. URI is working with Rhode Island fishermen 
to help predict the harm from warming and acidifying seas and figure 
out what that means for our fisheries and our agriculture.
  The Senator is from a State that has very distinguished fishing and 
agriculture himself, and I am sure his home State universities are 
doing similar research.
  URI and our State agencies are drilling down to generate fine local 
data on sea level rise and storm surge, and we are starting to be able 
to predict, with specificity, which homes are likely to be lost in 
storms, which roads will become inaccessible in coming decades, what 
plan B is necessary to get emergency services to communities when 
flooding bars the way, and what water and sewer and other public 
infrastructure is at risk. These are all now the daily questions of 
Rhode Island coastal life, thanks to climate change, and our University 
of Rhode Island is at the forefront of studying that.
  Of course, URI is not alone. You can go to every State university and 
find climate change concerns. They just understand this stuff. They are 
not actually just learning climate science, they are teaching about 
climate change. It is astonishing that Senators from those States will 
not listen to what their own universities teach.
  Let's call the Republican roll of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee, all of whom voted to suspend the committee rules to jam this 
fossil fuel industry minion through to the Senate floor as 
Administrator of the EPA, notwithstanding the black hole of secrecy 
around his dark money dealings with the polluting fossil fuel industry, 
and notwithstanding his years of stonewalling dozens of Open Records 
Act requests, including the one that has just been ordered to be 
disclosed by the judge today--thousands of emails.
  Let's see what our Environment and Public Works Committee colleagues, 
who cleared the way in committee for this nominee, would find at their 
home State universities, if they looked.
  Chairman Barrasso could go to the University of Wyoming, where he 
would find the University of Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology 
and Geophysics reporting: ``Many of the most pressing issues facing the 
western United States hinge on the fate and transport of water and its 
response to diverse disturbances, including climate change.''
  He would find University of Wyoming scientists publishing articles on 
``The effects of projected climate change on forest fires' 
sustainability'' and the University of Wyoming awarding university 
grants to study the effects of climate change on pollinators, on water 
flow, on beaver habitat, and on whitebark pine growth, all work being 
done sincerely at the University of Wyoming on climate change.
  Next down the line, we come to Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma. The senior 
Senator from Oklahoma could also go, of course, and consult Dean Moore 
of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University 
of Oklahoma. But if he really wanted to dig in, he could also go over 
to Oklahoma State and get an update from Oklahoma State Professor Riley 
Dunlap, who has written in a peer review and scientific journal: 
``Climate science has now firmly established that global warming is 
occurring, that human activities contribute to this warming, and that 
current and future warming portend negative impacts on both ecological 
and social systems.''
  ``Portend negative impacts on both ecological and social systems''--
that is science-ese for it is going to hurt people, as we Rhode 
Islanders already see all too plainly.
  Oklahoma State's Professor Dunlap goes on to write something more. 
However, he goes on to say:

       There has been an organized ``disinformation'' campaign . . 
     . to generate skepticism and denial . . . to ``manufacture 
     uncertainty,'' . . . especially by attacking climate science 
     and scientists.

  Wow. Huh?
  And he goes on:

       This campaign has been waged by a loose coalition of 
     industrial (especially fossil fuels) interests and 
     conservative foundations and think tanks--

  Look at that. He seems to be agreeing with Dr. Brulle at Drexel 
University--

     that utilize a range of front groups and Astroturf operations 
     [to manufacture that uncertainty].

  That is the research that Senator Inhofe would find at Oklahoma 
State. That organized disinformation campaign that Professor Dunlap 
reports on and the massive political muscle operation that supports it 
explains a lot of what goes on around here. And if you cross-reference 
the entities that Professor Dunlap puts into that organized 
disinformation campaign, you will find them on the record supporting 
this nominee. He is the nominee of the organized disinformation 
campaign. And that is because, behind this whole mess

[[Page S1339]]

of a nomination, is the fossil fuel industry.
  Let's go back to the Environment and Public Works Committee and 
continue down the row on the majority side. We come next to Senator 
Capito. Senator Capito from West Virginia could go to West Virginia 
University, where the Mountaineers could show her their mountain 
hydrology laboratory, which tells us, ``Climate change has important 
implications for management of fresh water resources.'' These include, 
``that the highlands region in the central Appalachian Mtns. is 
expected to wet up.'' As warmer air, which carries more moisture, leads 
to what West Virginia University is calling ``intensification of the 
water cycle,'' the laboratory warns that, ``the implications of this 
intensification are immense.''
  West Virginia University's Wildlife Conservation Lab publishes 
regularly on climate change effects, and one of West Virginia 
University's climate scientists, Professor Hessl, has been recognized 
by West Virginia University as West Virginia University's Benedum 
Distinguished Scholar. West Virginia University even sends people all 
the way to China to study climate change. Some hoax.
  Onward. My friend, Senator Boozman, is next in the line. His home 
State University of Arkansas has actually signed onto both the first 
and second university president's climate commitments. And the 
University of Arkansas has undertaken what it calls an aggressive and 
innovative Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 
help prevent climate change. The University of Arkansas explains the 
need to reduce greenhouse gases, particularly including carbon dioxide 
and methane. It is because these gases' ``absorption of solar radiation 
is responsible for the greenhouse effect.''
  Explaining further, the University of Arkansas describes that the 
greenhouse effect ``occurs as these gases are trapped and held in the 
Earth's atmosphere, gradually increasing the temperature of the Earth's 
surface and air in the lower atmosphere.''
  A University of Arkansas scientist predicts ``that the spread of 
plant species in nearly half the world's land areas could be affected 
by global warming by the end of the century.''
  On down the EPW row is my friend Roger Wicker from Mississippi. Down 
in Mississippi, the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, actually has 
an Office of Sustainability. The Ole Miss Office of Sustainability is 
there ``to further the university's efforts to combat global climate 
change.''
  Believe it or not, Ole Miss is another signatory to that University 
Presidents' Climate Commitment just like Arkansas. It is moving toward 
net zero greenhouse gas emissions. By the way, so is the University of 
Southern Mississippi. The director of the University of Mississippi's 
Center for Hydroscience and Engineering explains why this matters.

       Human influence and greenhouse gasses are the dominant 
     causes of the increase in global average temperature of the 
     earth. The impacts are observed in rising sea levels, 
     precipitation patterns, hydrologic regimes, floods and 
     droughts, and environmental processes.

  He continues.

       We must reduce our carbon footprint and take the necessary 
     steps to reduce our vulnerability to future climate change 
     impacts.

  From the University of Mississippi. Also, at Ole Miss, anthropology 
professor Marcos Mendoza warns that ``climate change is the greatest 
environmental threat facing global society in the 21st century.'' Let 
me say that again--from Ole Miss. ``Climate change is the greatest 
environmental threat facing global society in the 21st century.'' But 
the fossil fuel machine is going to see to it that we put a climate 
denier into the EPA Administrator's seat.
  So let's stay in Mississippi and go over to Mississippi State 
University, where several professors contributed to the American 
Society of Agronomy's report, ``Climate Change and Agriculture: 
Analysis of Potential International Impacts.'' The forward to that 
volume states that ``the threat of global climate change due to 
anthropogenic modification of the atmosphere--the so-called greenhouse 
effect--could potentially be one of the major environmental problems of 
our time.''
  Down on the gulf, all three Mississippi universities are working 
together with Sea Grant, on what they call a climate team to assess 
``the risk of environmental, economic, and societal impacts from rising 
sea levels and storm surges.'' My friend who is presiding knows well 
the effects in the gulf. When you are looking at the risk of 
environmental, economic, and societal impacts from rising sea levels 
and storm surges, you have something in common with Rhode Island as 
well.
  Let's go on to Nebraska from where Senator Fischer hails. The 
University of Nebraska has published extensive reports on what they 
call ``Climate Change Implications for Nebraska.'' One University of 
Nebraska report leads with this blunt sentence: ``Climate change poses 
significant risks to Nebraska's economy, environment, and citizens.'' 
Well, Nebraskans, it turns out, agree. The University of Nebraska has 
published research that ``most rural Nebraskans believe the state 
should develop a plan for adopting to climate change, as do 58 percent 
of Nebraskans 65 and older.''
  So even the elder Nebraskans by 58 percent believe it, and nearly 70 
percent of young Nebraskans, from 19 to 29 years old. On the science, 
the University of Nebraska reports the following:

       Is there debate within the scientific community with regard 
     to observed changes in climate and human activities as the 
     principal causal factor? The short answer here is no, at 
     least certainly not among climate scientists; that is, 
     scientists who have actual expertise in the study of climate 
     and climate change.

  Let me repeat that again from the University of Nebraska.

       Is there debate within the scientific community with regard 
     to observed changes in climate and human activities as the 
     principal causal factor? The short answer here is no, at 
     least certainly not among climate scientists; that is, 
     scientists who have actual expertise in the study of climate 
     and climate change.

  The University of Nebraska goes on.

       For more than a decade, there has been broad and 
     overwhelming consensus within the climate science community 
     that human-induced effects on climate change are both very 
     real and very large.

  As to scope of those effects, the University of Nebraska warns:

       The magnitude and rapidity of the projected changes in 
     climate are unprecedented. The implications of these changes 
     for the health of our planet and the legacy we will leave to 
     our children, our grandchildren, and future generations are 
     of vital concern.

  The University of Nebraska has even published what it calls ``Key 
Climate Change Data for Nebraska.'' This is the list:
  Temperatures have risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1895; frost-
free season has increased 5 to 25 days since 1895; very heavy 
precipitation events have increased 16 percent in the Great Plains 
Region; projected temperature increase of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, 
low-emissions scenario, or 8 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, high-emissions 
scenario, by 2100; projected summer of 2100 will have 13 to 25 days 
over 100 degrees Fahrenheit; number of nights over 70 degrees 
Fahrenheit will increase by 20 to 40 by 2100; soil moisture is 
projected to decrease 5 to 10 percent by 2100; reduced snowpack in 
Rocky Mountains equals reduced streamflow in our rivers; increasing 
heavy precipitation events; increasing flood magnitude; increasing 
drought frequency and severity.
  That is the University of Nebraska's list of coming attractions to 
Nebraska from climate change.
  On to Kansas, where Senator Moran would learn from Kansas State 
University about climate change's effects on agriculture in his home 
State. Kansas State University Professor Charles Rice, Distinguished 
Professor of Agronomy, working with the National Science Foundation is 
using ``climate modeling tactics to predict the effects of climate 
change in the Great Plains, and to develop adaptation and mitigation 
strategies for agriculture in the region,'' to help meet what Kansas 
State calls ``one of the grand challenges of the 21st century: 
evaluating and predicting the biological and ecological consequences of 
accelerating global climate change.''
  Kansas State brought the executive director of agricultural giant 
Cargill to talk about climate change. News reports describe what the 
Cargill executive stated; that ``climate change is real and must be 
addressed head-on to prevent future food shortages.'' Specifically, the 
Cargill executive said that ``U.S. production of corn, soybeans, wheat, 
and cotton could decline

[[Page S1340]]

by 14 percent by mid-century and by as much as 42 percent by late 
century.'' This is a senior corporate executive in one of our leading 
agricultural companies, warning of a 14-percent decrease in these 
essential crops by midcentury, and as much as a 42-percent decrease by 
late century.
  From an agricultural standpoint, the executive said, ``We have to 
prepare ourselves for a different climate than we have today.'' Maybe 
that is why Kansas State calls evaluating and predicting the biological 
and ecological consequences of accelerating global climate change one 
of the grand challenges of the 21st century.
  Let's head out to South Dakota, where Senator Mike Rounds would hear 
from South Dakota State University about climate change on the Dakota 
Plains. South Dakota State's Leffler Lab calls climate change ``the 
signature challenge of the 21st century.'' So let's bear in mind, we 
have the Kansas State University calling climate change ``one of the 
grand challenges of the 21st century.'' We have South Dakota State's 
Leffler Lab calling climate change the ``signature challenge of the 
21st century.'' We have an EPA nominee who is a climate change denier, 
wrapped so tight with the fossil fuel industry, you can't tell where 
one ends and the other begins, and he has the support of the Senators 
from Kansas and South Dakota.
  It is a riddle. South Dakota State scientists are not just saying 
that climate change is the signature challenge of the 21st century, 
they are out studying climate change around the globe. From the Upper 
Ghanaian forests of West Africa to the West Antarctica ice sheet. South 
Dakota State University Professor Mark Cochrane is working with the 
U.S. Forest Service to determine ``how a changing climate impacts 
forest ecosystems'' and reported that ``forest fire seasons worldwide 
increased by 18.7 percent due to more rain-free days and hotter 
temperatures.''
  The South Dakota State University News Center has reported that 
season-shifting climate changes ``are all being affected by warming 
from an increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity''--``all 
being affected by warming from an increase in greenhouse gases due to 
human activity.''
  South Dakota State University even brought in Harvard Professor and 
``Merchants of Doubt'' author Naomi Oreskes, saying that her work ``has 
laid to rest the idea that there is significant disagreement in the 
scientific community about global warming.'' Somebody needs to 
translate between South Dakota State University and this EPA nominee.
  So on we go to Iowa, continuing down the Environment and Public Works 
Republican roster, where Senator Joni Ernst could hear from an Iowa 
State University professor who told a United Nations conference not 
long ago that ``climate change was already affecting Iowa farmers. This 
is not just about the distant future,'' he said. Iowa State has 
published extensive reach and I will just quote the title of it. 
``Global Warming: Impact of climate change on global agriculture.'' 
Iowa State's prestigious Leopold Center views climate change not merely 
as warming, but as a ``worsening destabilization of the planet's 
environmental systems.''
  Climate change is not just warming, it is a ``worsening 
destabilization of the planet's environmental systems'' and yet the 
good Senator voted to move this climate-denying industry tool forward 
to be our EPA Administrator.
  A worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental systems, 
they call it, that will create ``an aggravated and unpredictable risk 
that will challenge the security of our agricultural and biological 
systems''--``aggravated and unpredictable risk that will challenge the 
security of our agricultural and biological systems.''
  That is Iowa State talking. They conclude: ``The scientific evidence 
is clear that the magnitude of the changes ahead are greater, the rate 
much faster, and [the] duration of climatic destabilization will last 
much longer than once thought.''
  Now we come to the end of the row of the Republicans on the 
Environment and Public Works Committee.
  As an Alaskan, Senator Dan Sullivan would get double barrels from the 
University of Alaska, first about climate change and second about ocean 
acidification.
  ``Alaska is already facing the impacts of climate change,'' the 
University of Alaska reports.
  This question of ``facing the impacts of climate change'' matters 
enough to the University of Alaska that, on global warming, the 
university has stood up the Alaska Climate Science Center. The Alaska 
Climate Science Center has been established to help understand ``the 
response of Alaska's ecosystems to a changing climate.''
  The Alaska Climate Science Center of the University of Alaska is 
charting the recordbreaking, year-over-year warming in Alaska, 
analyzing temperature trends, and receiving awards for ``modeling and 
evaluating climate change impacts in the Arctic.''
  ``One thing for sure,'' the center says, is that the climate ``will 
continue to change as a result of various natural and anthropogenic 
forcing mechanisms.''
  Then there is the other climate change punch coming at Alaska, from 
the sea. In addition to its Alaska Climate Science Center, the 
University of Alaska is serious enough about this to have also stood up 
an Ocean Acidification Research Center to address what it calls 
``growing concerns over increased acidity in the ocean and the impacts 
this phenomenon will have on Alaska's marine ecosystems''--``growing 
concerns over increased acidity in the ocean and the impacts this 
phenomenon will have on Alaska's marine ecosystems.''
  Alaska's seafood industry is an enormous asset to Alaska's economy, 
and it depends on Alaska's marine ecosystems. Well, the University of 
Alaska's Ocean Acidification Research Center warns that ocean 
acidification ``has the potential to disrupt this industry from top to 
bottom''--``to disrupt this industry from top to bottom.''
  The Ocean Acidification Research Center identifies the culprit of 
this phenomenon as ``the transport of CO2 from the 
atmosphere into the ocean.''
  Indeed, as we have loaded up the atmosphere with more and more 
CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, the ocean 
has actually absorbed chemically about a third of that CO2.
  In addition to all that heat I mentioned earlier that the ocean had 
absorbed--more than 90 percent of the added heat--it actually absorbed 
one-third of the carbon dioxide. Of course, when carbon dioxide 
interacts with seawater, there is a change that takes place.
  Indeed, why don't we see about doing a demonstration of that change. 
It will take a minute to get that organized. While we are getting that 
organized, let me continue.
  Here is a description--thank you to the University of Maryland for 
the graphic--of how atmospheric carbon dioxide turns the ocean acidic.
  When you add additional CO2 to the atmosphere, at the 
surface, where it meets the sea, there is a chemical exchange, and the 
CO2 can be absorbed by the ocean. As I said, one-third of it 
has been. That dissolved carbon dioxide joins with the water 
chemically, and it creates carbonic acid. The carbonic acid, in turn, 
creates bicarbonate ions, hydrogen ions, and carbonate ions, and those 
ions interfere with the makeup of marine creatures, which make their 
shells out of free carbon in the oceans, and some of those effects are 
pretty apparent.
  This is the shell of an ocean creature called a pteropod. It is at 
the base of a great deal of the ocean food chain. There are studies off 
the northwest coast that show that more than 50 percent of this 
creature have experienced what the scientists who them caught them and 
studied them called severe shell damage. Here is what happens when you 
expose them to high concentrations of acidified seawater, higher than 
usual. That is what it looks like day 1. That is a healthy shell. 
Fifteen days later, it is starting to gray. Thirty days later, beyond 
just starting to gray, it is starting to actually come apart. And by 45 
days, the shell is a wreck. That is not an animal that is capable of 
surviving.
  So let's see how this works. This is a glass of water, and I have 
just put 20 drops of a pH test into it. That shows what the acidity is 
of the water. As you can see, it has turned the water rather blue, 
which matches roughly this level of pH.

[[Page S1341]]

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to 
continue with this little demonstration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Kennedy). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, this is a very simple bubbler that 
anybody with an aquarium will recognize. All you simply do is you put 
the bubbler in. I produce carbon dioxide as I exhale. So I am exhaling 
one breath into this same glass. I will do one more. It was not even a 
full breath, but there it is.

  It used to match that color; do you remember? Now look at what color 
it matches. Just breathing carbon dioxide through the water has changed 
its pH and has made it more acidic.
  I can do that right here with a breath. It is happening on a global 
scale, as the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans 
transports CO2 into the oceans. When that happens, the same 
chemical effect that we modeled here takes place, and the oceans become 
more acidic, and the effects continue to be damaging.
  The previous shell that I showed was the pteropod, a humble creature, 
but an important creature in the food chain. It is actually called the 
ocean butterfly by some because its snail foot has been transformed by 
God's law of evolution into an oceanic wing that allows it to fly in 
the seas.
  This is an oyster. The Senator's State of Louisiana does a lot of 
work with oysters, as does Rhode Island. Again, exposing oyster larvae 
to ocean water with heightened levels of acidity--day 1, day 2, day 4, 
and then we see exposure to acidity. Here is what a healthy larva looks 
like; here is what one exposed looks like. Here is what the healthy one 
looks like; here is what the exposed one looks like. Here is a healthy 
one; here is one exposed.
  You will see that the healthy larva is growing day after day. It is 
getting bigger. It is going to become an oyster. Somebody is going to 
have a great oyster stew some day with that oyster with any luck.
  This one is shrinking and deforming, and the reason is that the 
little creature is trying to take the carbon out of the ocean to make 
its shell--the calcium. And because of those ions that I pointed out, 
it is bound up, and they can't get it. So they deform this way.
  When you are at a point where more than 50 percent of ocean pteropods 
are experiencing severe shell damage, if you are not paying attention, 
you are going to take a big punch.
  Now I know around here we don't give a darn about God's creatures as 
being God's creatures. I probably sound funny to some people talking 
about a funny little creature in the ocean called a pteropod. The 
things we care about here are things that we can monetize because this 
is Mammon Hall. This is the temple where gold rules.
  These little creatures are a little bit away from the gold. But who 
cares about the pteropod? I will tell you who cares about the pteropod. 
Salmon care about the pteropod, and people care about the salmon, and 
Alaska has a pretty good salmon fishery. The Pacific Northwest has a 
pretty good salmon fishery. If you drop out the pteropod from the 
bottom of the oceanic food chain because it can't grow because the 
ocean has acidified, there is a big collapse to take place.
  As scientists would say, the upper trophic levels fall as the lower 
trophic levels collapse. So this is serious.
  As I went through all these different Republican Environment and 
Public Works Committee Senators' home State universities, maybe you 
could say that all those home State universities are part of the 
climate change hoax that our President is so pleased to tweet about.
  If so, my colleagues really ought to call their home State 
universities out about that. If they think their home State 
universities are in on a hoax, I think it wouldn't be right, and they 
ought to call out their home State universities. If the home State 
universities are part of a big old hoax, say so. Say so. But if all of 
my Republican colleagues' home State universities right down the line 
on the Environment and Public Works committee aren't in on a hoax, if 
what they are doing is good science, why not listen to them? Why not 
listen to them? What is the dark star in this firmament that causes the 
real science from the home State universities of these Senators to warp 
and twist around as it comes to this body? What is the power? What is 
the force that is causing every single one of these home State 
universities to be ignored by their home State Senators?

  Let me go back and review very briefly what they said. Home State 
universities of the Republican Senators on the Environment and Public 
Works Committee warn of ``pressing issues'' related to climate change. 
That is Wyoming--pressing issues.
  Assert that the science of climate change is ``unequivocal,'' 
``without any question.'' That is from Oklahoma.
  Foresee ``immense'' implications related to climate change. That is 
West Virginia.
  Making anti-greenhouse gas ``climate commitments'' to fight climate 
change. That is the University of Arkansas.
  Warn that ``climate change is the greatest environmental threat 
facing global society.'' That is Mississippi.
  Find the ``significant risks'' from climate change to be ``of vital 
concern.'' That is Nebraska. That is the one that had the hit list of 
coming attractions from Nebraska of climate change
  Describe climate change as ``one of the grand challenges of the 21st 
century.'' That is Kansas.
  Call climate change ``the signature challenge of the 21st century.'' 
South Dakota.
  Predict ``aggravated and unpredictable risk'' from climate 
disruption. That is Iowa.
  Prepare for fisheries risk that could shake the State's seafood 
industry ``from top to bottom.'' That is Alaska.
  Right down the row of Republican Senators who voted for this climate 
denying nominee, you have home State universities that say the 
opposite, that say that it is real, that it is beyond scientific debate 
at this point, that its effects are here, that its effects are 
worsening, and that it is going to shake industries like the fishing 
industry from top to bottom and create significant risk and 
disturbances in agriculture. But not one of those Senators stood up 
against the nominee who is the shameless tool of the industry that is 
causing all that harm.
  So I have to ask, how does that end? If you listen to what all your 
home State universities are saying, this is a pressing and immense 
grand challenge. This greatest environmental threat--it doesn't go 
away. This is truth measured by science, God's and nature's truth, and 
truth always demands a reckoning.
  If we listen only to the fossil fuel industry as it lies and 
prevaricates and propagandizes and disassembles and does all its 
nonsense to protect its all-important right to pollute for free, how do 
we expect this turns out in the end? Do you think these acidifying 
shells give a red hot damn what a fossil fuel industry lobbyist says? 
They are responding to laws of chemistry and nature that we don't get 
to repeal or amend.
  Let me make one last point in closing, as I saw Senator Carper here, 
our distinguished ranking member, and I am sure he wants to speak.
  Our Republican friends claim to support market economics. They are 
big on how you have to trust the market. You shouldn't regulate. 
Markets are the way to go. Market economics is the most efficient tool 
for allocating resources. Market economics are how we create wealth. 
Actually, I agree. So let's look at market economics.
  What I believe and what economists say on all sides of the political 
spectrum is that it is market economics 101 that for the market to 
work, the harm of a product has to be built into the price of a 
product.
  The fossil fuel industry, the dark star of our politics, absorbing 
and bending all of this home State information, absorbs and bends even 
conservative market principles so that they disappear here in Congress, 
at least wherever those principles conflict with what appears to be our 
first principle: the well-being and the power of the fossil fuel 
industry.
  The fact that Senators do not hear or do not care about this science 
from their home State universities tells you all you need to know about 
the brute political force of the fossil fuel industry here in Congress.
  (Mrs. ERNST assumed the Chair.)
  Let me go back just a moment to something I said earlier, since we 
have been joined by the Senator from Iowa

[[Page S1342]]

at this fine early hour in the morning. Just before she arrived, I was 
talking about Iowa State. Since she is here, I will go back to those 
remarks and to the Iowa State University professor who told a United 
Nations conference not long ago that climate change is already 
affecting Iowa farmers. ``This isn't just about the distant future,'' 
the Iowa State scientist said.
  I noted that Iowa State has published extensive research on, and I 
quote Iowa State University here, ``global warming, the impact of 
climate change on global agriculture.''
  Iowa State has a center called the Leopold Center, which perhaps the 
Presiding Officer can confirm is a fairly prestigious institution 
within the University of Iowa. Iowa State's Leopold Center ``views 
climate change not merely as warming, but as a worsening 
destabilization of the planet's environmental system.''
  I hope the distinguished Senator from Iowa will review Iowa State's 
view that this worsening destabilization of the planet's environmental 
system will create, and I quote Iowa State University again, 
``aggravated and unpredictable risks that will challenge the security 
of our agricultural and biological systems'' and consider their 
conclusion: ``The scientific evidence is clear that the magnitude of 
the changes ahead are greater, the rate much faster, and the duration 
of the climatic destabilization will last much longer than once 
thought.''
  Let me close, while we wait for Senator Carper, who is nearby, with 
my final exhibit.
  This is a page from the New York Times in 2009. It is a full-page ad 
that was taken out in the New York Times in 2009, and it reads:

       Dear President Obama and the United States Congress, 
     tomorrow leaders from 192 countries will gather at the U.N. 
     Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to determine the fate 
     of our planet. As business leaders, we are optimistic that 
     President Obama is attending Copenhagen with emissions 
     targets. Additionally, we urge you, our government, to 
     strengthen and pass U.S. legislation and lead the world by 
     example. We support your effort to ensure meaningful and 
     effective measures to control climate change, an immediate 
     challenge facing the United States and the world today. 
     Please don't postpone the earth. If we fail to act now, it is 
     scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic 
     and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.
       Please allow us, the United States of America, to serve in 
     modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our 
     planet.

  That is the text of this advertisement in the New York Times in 2009. 
And guess who signed it. Donald J. Trump, chairman and president; 
Donald J. Trump, Jr., executive vice president; Eric F. Trump, 
executive vice president; Ivanka M. Trump, executive vice president; 
and the Trump Organization.
  I will close with the sentence from this New York Times 
advertisement, signed by Donald J. Trump, that ``the science of climate 
change is irrefutable and our failure to act will have consequences 
that are catastrophic and irreversible.'' President Trump's words, not 
mine.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. CARPER. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, good morning to our pages and members of 
our staff, some of whom have been up all night.
  I just walked over here from my office in the Hart Building and, 
along the way, I ran into the Capitol Police and others who are putting 
in a long day and a long night. I, on behalf of all of us, want to 
express my thanks to them.
  I have said this on several occasions--that I take no joy in going 
through a chapter like we are going through tonight.
  I come from a State on the east coast where we get along pretty well. 
Democrats and Republicans sort of like each other. They tend to be 
mainstream, both on the Democratic side and on the Republican side. We 
have something called the Delaware way, and it is sort of based on the 
three C's--communicate, compromise, and collaborate. This is what we 
do. We have done it for a long time, and it seems to work for us. 
Hopefully, when we get through this chapter--when we get through the 
nomination process--we will be able to get back to the three C's.
  I have the privilege, as the Presiding Officer knows, that when I got 
out of the Navy I moved to Delaware, and I had an opportunity to serve 
in a couple of different roles--as the treasurer, as a Congressman, and 
then as the Governor for 8 years. In my time as Governor, according to 
laws and the constitution of Delaware, the Governor nominates people to 
serve as cabinet members, as members of the judiciary, and on a lot of 
boards and commissions.
  During those 8 years that I was privileged to serve as Governor, the 
legislature was split--the House was Republican, and the Senate was 
Democrat. When it came time to nominate members of my cabinet, my 
predecessor was Governor Mike Castle, as the Senator from Rhode Island 
knows. He was a moderate Republican, and he had been our Governor, and 
before that our Lieutenant Governor. He was a State legislator and a 
very successful attorney. When I was elected Governor, he was elected 
Congressman. So we literally traded places. He took my job in Congress, 
in the House, and I took his job as Governor.
  It was really a wonderful transition, where I tried to help him make 
that transition to be successful in the House of Representatives, and 
he tried very much to help me be successful as a new Governor.
  I, actually, went to something called the New Governor's School, 
hosted by Roy Romer, who was then the chairman of the National 
Governors Association--a wonderful guy. We were in the New Governor's 
School out in Colorado, the newly elected Governors of 1992--Democrats 
and Republicans, including people like George W. Bush, Tom Ridge, and 
the list goes on. If I had had more sleep, I could remember every one 
of them. It was just wonderful. Mike Levin, who later became the head 
of the EPA, was one of them.
  We learned a lot at the New Governor's School about how to set up and 
establish an administration, how to put together an administration. 
Mike Castle, Delaware's Governor, was part of the faculty, if you will, 
of current Governors who mentored us in the New Governor's School, and 
it was a blessing in my life.
  I asked Governor Castle, as we were going through that transition, to 
sort of walk me through his own cabinet and to suggest who might want 
to stay, who might be interested in staying on in a new 
administration--in my administration--and who, maybe, who would not. It 
ended up, when I nominated people to serve in my cabinet, that there 
were several there who had actually served in his. We had mostly 
Democrats. I am a Democrat. But there were some Republicans as well. 
Below the cabinet level, we had division directors, and we kept almost 
all--not all but almost all of the division directors we asked to stay, 
too.
  For 8 years as Governor of Delaware, I would nominate people to serve 
in either cabinet positions or on the judiciary or at other posts; but, 
for 8 years, we batted 1,000. The State executive committee was 
terrific in approving people, confirming people to serve in these 
roles. It was not like I just rushed things--here is who we are 
nominating. Go pass them.
  That is not the way they worked. I asked them for their ideas. We 
solicited their ideas, not just for the cabinet but, also, for the 
judiciary.
  At the end of the day, it was my role to actually nominate people, 
and it was their role to provide advice and consent, and they did--a 
little bit before but, certainly, throughout the nominating process. It 
worked pretty well. It worked pretty well for our State, and I am proud 
of the 8 years that our administration worked with the legislature and 
with nonprofit communities, the faith community, and the business 
community with what we accomplished.
  I was trained as a leader from the age of 12, and our Presiding 
Officer was trained as a leader, probably, from about the same age. We 
both served in the military. She is a retired lieutenant colonel, and I 
am a retired Navy captain. But I was trained that leaders

[[Page S1343]]

are humble, not haughty. I was trained that leaders should have the 
hearts of servants, as our job is to serve and not be served. I was 
trained that we basically call on people not to do what we say but to 
do what we do. I believe in leadership by example. I was taught that 
leaders don't hold their fingers up to the wind and see which way the 
wind is going, but that we should have the courage to stay out of step 
when everyone else is marching to the wrong tune. I was trained that 
leaders do not lead by dividing folks but by uniting people--by 
building bridges, not walls. I was trained that leaders should be 
purveyors of hope--that we should appeal to people's better angels. I 
was trained that leaders ought to focus on doing what is right, not 
what is easy or expedient, that we should embrace the Golden Rule--
really, embody the Golden Rule--by treating people the way we want to 
be treated, that we should focus on excellence in everything we do and 
surround ourselves with the best people we can find. When the team that 
we lead does well, they get the credit, and when the team that we lead 
does not do so well, the leader takes the blame. I was trained as a 
leader with the idea that, when you know you are right, be sure you are 
right. You just never give up. You never give up.
  Those are the leadership skills that were infused into me by my 
family and my faith. I was in the military for 23 years, plus 4 years 
as a midshipman, and it helped make me who I am. Those are, really, the 
leadership blocks that I bring to my job here.
  We have had some great leaders in this body. We could use a 
leadership like I have just described at the top of the food chain in 
this country, in this administration. We could use that. I, thus far, 
after about one month into this administration, I haven't seen that 
kind of leadership that I had hoped for, that we had seen not that long 
ago.
  I want to commend everyone who has come to the floor in the last 
almost 20 hours on our side--the Democratic side--and on the Republican 
side to explain our points of view with respect to the nomination of 
Scott Pruitt to be Administrator for the EPA in this country.
  When Donald Trump was running for President, he said pretty 
consistently that part of what he wanted to do as President was to 
degrade and, essentially, destroy the Environmental Protection Agency. 
He didn't just say it once or twice but again and again. When he won 
the nomination, he said the same thing--that, if elected President, 
part of his goal would be to degrade and, essentially, destroy the 
Environmental Protection Agency. When he was elected President--a 
couple of days after being elected--he repeated that pledge.
  Sometimes people may not believe what we say, but they will believe 
what we do. For me, the first clear indication that what he said with 
respect to the Environmental Protection Agency was something that he 
intended to do was the selection of a person to lead the Environmental 
Protection Agency, and he chose the attorney general of Oklahoma Scott 
Pruitt.
  Scott was introduced at his confirmation hearing before the 
Environment and Public Works Committee by the two Senators from 
Oklahoma--James Lankford, with whom I serve on the Homeland Security 
and Governmental Affairs Committee--he is a great member--and Jim 
Inhofe, who is our senior Republican on the Environment and Public 
Works Committee.
  They have very high regard for Scott Pruitt. They have spoken here on 
the floor with regard to him and to his service. When someone whose 
service and friendship I value as much as I do--James Lankford and Jim 
Inhofe--speak so highly of a friend and a colleague from their State, 
it is not easy for me, and it is not easy for the rest of us to oppose 
that nominee--their friend. But we have done that. We have done that 
for weeks now, and we have done that now throughout this night.
  I take no joy in doing this. Having said that, I take no joy in the 
fact that the levels of the seas around my little State of Delaware are 
rising, and we are the lowest lying State in America, and we see every 
day the vestiges of sea level rise.
  I take no joy when I catch the train in the morning to come down 
here--I go back and forth every day--I take no joy in standing on the 
platform at the Wilmington train station and in looking at a beautiful 
riverfront, which we have worked on for 20 years so as to transform an 
industrial wasteland into something that is lovely, beautiful, and 
clean. Even now, with the fish that swim in the Christina River, we 
cannot eat them. In fact, from most of the bodies of water in my State, 
we cannot eat the fish, and that is because of the mercury that is 
contained in them. It is not just in my State, and it is not just in 
our neighbors' States--Maryland and New Jersey. It is in the States all 
up and down the east coast.
  We live in what is called the end of America's tailpipe. A lot of 
emissions that are put up into the air come from coal-fired plants to 
our west--from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, which is my 
native State, and other States. They have, in many cases, really tall 
smokestacks, and they put their pollution--their air emissions--up 
through the smokestacks. They go up hundreds and hundreds of feet into 
the air. The air carries them out of their States. It carries the 
pollution out of their States, and where does it settle? It settles in 
ours. In States from Virginia on up into Maine. We live at the end of 
America's tailpipe.
  I take no joy that, of the freshwater fish in our State and a lot of 
other places on the east coast and, frankly, in other places around the 
country, you cannot eat those fish anymore.
  I want to take a few minutes and pivot from that as background to 
what we are going to look at--some charts--in a minute. Before we do, I 
want to talk about why we can't eat the fish in too many places around 
this country. And the reason why is because we get, I would say about 
40 percent of our electricity from coal. Today it is maybe down to 
around 30, maybe 25 to 30 percent, and maybe 25 to 30 percent from 
natural gas. We get maybe 20 percent from nuclear, and the rest is from 
the renewable forms of energy, including wind and solar technology as 
it has gotten better and better and better.

  One of the reasons my colleagues, particularly on this side, have 
great concerns about the nomination of Scott Pruitt has to do with 
mercury. As I have shared with the Senate, a review of Mr. Pruitt's 
record yields some troubling information about how he managed the unit 
within his own office in Oklahoma charged with responding to 
environmental matters. Upon taking office, Mr. Pruitt essentially 
gutted his own Environmental Protection Unit within the attorney 
general's office. It appears he abandoned his responsibilities to use 
his office to protect the public health of Oklahomans and declined to 
use his authority to hold polluters and bad actors accountable.
  A review of Mr. Pruitt's record yields nothing that shows how he will 
change this behavior if he is confirmed to be EPA Administrator. In 
fact, the New York Times reported earlier this month, on February 5, 
that Mr. Pruitt is drawing up plans to move forward on the President's 
campaign promise to ``get rid of'' the EPA.
  Just remember, the EPA does not just involve clean air and clean 
water and the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. The implementation of 
the Toxic Substances Control Act deals with hazardous materials and the 
products we use every day. The Environmental Protection Agency is a 
huge player in the public health of our country for not just adults 
like us but for young people like these pages, like my children, our 
grandchildren--all of us--our parents, grandparents. The EPA is in 
large part responsible for our being a healthier nation.
  I am a big believer in going after root causes for illness and 
sickness, and if you have mercury in your fish, if you have bad stuff 
in your air, it degrades your health, and that is a big problem. It is 
a big problem for us in Delaware because we spend a whole lot of money. 
Ninety percent of the air pollution in my State doesn't come from 
Delaware. It isn't generated in Delaware. It is bad stuff. It is air 
emissions that come from other States. They are able to burn coal, get 
cheap electricity, and because they put stuff in the air in tall 
smokestacks, they send it over to us. They end up with cheap 
electricity, lower healthcare costs, and we end up with having to clean 
up our emissions dramatically, more so than we otherwise would. It is 
expensive. So we end

[[Page S1344]]

up with expensive electricity and also healthcare costs that are higher 
than the places where the pollution is coming from. That is just not 
right.
  I said earlier that I get no joy from going through this nomination 
battle for Mr. Pruitt with my friends on the other side, but believe me 
I get no joy from the idea that we end up with expensive electricity in 
my State and higher health costs because other people in other parts of 
our country don't embrace the Golden Rule, to treat other people the 
way you want to be treated.
  Going back to the New York Times article on February 5 that indicated 
that Mr. Pruitt is drawing up plans to move forward on the President's 
campaign promise to get rid of the EPA, they had these landing teams in 
the course of the transition to go through each of the agencies. The 
person who apparently was leading the administration's landing team 
into the EPA called for reducing the head count at EPA. They didn't say 
we are going to have a hiring freeze at the EPA. They didn't say we are 
going to have a 1- or 2- or 3-percent reduction. They didn't say we 
were going to reduce it by 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 percent. They said we are 
going to reduce the head count at the Environmental Protection Agency 
by two-thirds.
  I guess it is possible that whoever this person is that heads up the 
landing team of the EPA, maybe they don't have pollution in their 
State. Maybe the air is pristine, and they can get all the fish they 
want from all the other rivers, lakes, and streams. They don't have to 
worry about toxic waste sites or any of that stuff. I doubt it.
  I think part of our job is to make sure the EPA can do their job 
better, but the kind of draconian changes President Trump has talked 
about--and when you look at the record of the fellow they nominated to 
lead the EPA, you get the feeling that maybe they are not just talking.
  There is an old saying that sometimes people may not believe what we 
say, they believe what we do so let's just take a look to see what Mr. 
Pruitt has done in his own State of Oklahoma. I would say there are two 
sides to every story, and we are hearing two sides to every story. What 
I am going to do here is just draw on his own words.
  The New York Times story goes on to say that Mr. Pruitt ``has a 
blueprint to repeal climate change rules, cut staffing levels, close 
regional offices and permanently weaken the agency's regulatory 
authority.''
  It continues:

       As much as anyone, Mr. Pruitt knows the legal intricacies 
     of environmental regulation--and deregulation. As Oklahoma's 
     attorney general over the last six years, he has led or taken 
     part in 14 lawsuits against the EPA.
       His changes may not have the dramatic flair favored by Mr. 
     Trump, but they could weaken the agency's authority even long 
     after Mr. Trump has left office.

  And how will he achieve this objective of weakening the Agency's 
authority? First, by diminishing the scientific basis by which the 
Agency makes decisions.
  Mr. Pruitt does not seem to value or understand the science that is 
at the core of this Agency's actions to protect public health or the 
important role EPA plays ensuring all States are doing their fair share 
so every American can breathe clean air and drink clean water.
  One area where his propensity to disregard science is especially 
evident is Mr. Pruitt's extreme views on mercury and other air toxic 
pollution from electric powerplants.
  Much of our country's ongoing efforts to clean up air pollution 
hinges on every State playing by the rules and doing their fair share 
to reduce air pollution because the pollution generated in one State 
does not just stay in that State. The air carries it across State 
borders. Streams and rivers carry it across State borders as well.
  As I said earlier, in my home State of Delaware, we have made real 
strides in cleaning up our own air pollution that we generate. 
Unfortunately, the other States to the west of us have not made the 
same kind of commitment.
  As I said a few minutes ago, over 90 percent of Delaware's air 
pollution comes from our neighboring States. The air pollution is not 
only a danger to our hearts and lungs and brains, it also costs a lot 
in doctor bills and hospital bills and in our quality of life.
  Not all, but some of this pollution is toxic. It comes across our 
borders. These toxins that are in the air get in the food we eat as 
well as the air we breathe and build up in our bodies without our 
knowledge. Those buildups can lead to cancer, mental impairment and, in 
some cases, even to death.
  Delawareans depend on the EPA to ensure that our neighbors do their 
fair share so we can protect our citizens. It hasn't always moved as 
quickly as we would have liked, but without the EPA, our State of 
Delaware wouldn't have many other options at our disposal.
  Mr. Pruitt, however, seems to have spent a good part of his career 
fighting to dismantle the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. In 
my State, our neighboring States, those of us who live especially at 
the end of America's tailpipe depend on it for cleaner air and cleaner 
water.
  I have a poster here. Here is a fish, not one we would want to eat. 
The poster says: ``Why isn't Scott Pruitt convinced?'' The scientists 
and doctors tell us that mercury is a harmful toxin.
  Mr. Pruitt has been a part of multiple lawsuits against the Federal 
environmental protections--protections that are offered by EPA. Many of 
these lawsuits again are against clean air protections. He has fought 
against a rule to reduce mercury and other air-toxic pollution in this 
country three separate times.
  In 1990, Congress had enough scientific information to list mercury, 
as well as 188 other air toxics, such as lead and arsenic, as hazardous 
air pollutants in the Clean Air Act.
  Lawmakers at the time, including me, serving in the House of 
Representatives, thought this action would ensure our largest emitters 
of mercury and air toxins would soon be required to clean up. 
Unfortunately, it took 22 years for the EPA to issue the mercury and 
air toxic rule, which reduced mercury and other air toxins from coal-
fired powerplants, our largest source of mercury emissions in this 
country.
  The EPA modeled this rule after what was being done in the States and 
required coal plants to install existing affordable technology that 
could reduce mercury and toxic emissions by 90 percent. The reason the 
EPA ended up having to go through all these processes over all these 
years in issuing this regulation is because Congress did not act in 
passing legislation, which we should have done. We could have, and we 
tried--a bipartisan effort--Lamar Alexander, a wonderful Senator from 
Tennessee, and myself, and others sought to get it done, and we were 
unable to get it done legislatively. We were opposed by the utilities, 
and in the end, the EPA said enough and we are going to issue this 
rule.
  But for a lawmaker who supported the Clean Air Act amendments of 
1990, and as someone who represents a downwind State, this rule is a 
long time in coming. You would not know this from the claims in these 
lawsuits, but since 1990, medical professionals and scientists have 
learned quite a bit about the environmental and health impacts of 
mercury.
  The mercury emitted into the air deposits into our water. It then 
builds up in our lakes and rivers and streams and eventually makes its 
way into our food supply, through fish and fowl that we eat.
  Children are most at risk, as many of us know. Pregnant mothers who 
eat the mercury-laden fish can transfer unhealthy doses to their unborn 
children, impacting neurological development of their babies.
  Prior to EPA's mercury rule, the Centers for Disease Control 
estimated that 600,000 newborns were at risk a year from mercury 
poisoning--600,000.
  In 2012, Dr. Jerome Paulson, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 
testified before our EPW Committee, stating that ``there is no evidence 
demonstrating a safe level of mercury exposure.''
  Dr. Jerome Paulson, American Academy of Pediatrics, testified before 
our committee in 2012. Again, he said: ``There is no evidence 
demonstrating a safe level of mercury exposure.''
  Our Nation's most reputable pediatric organization, dedicated to the 
health and well-being of our children, has made clear that medical 
research shows there is no safe level of mercury exposure for our 
children--none.

[[Page S1345]]

  Mr. Pruitt has come to his own conclusions about mercury.
  The 2012 lawsuit that Mr. Pruitt joined with coal companies against 
the mercury and air toxics rule stated--this is what the lawsuit said: 
``The record does not support EPA's findings that mercury, non-mercury 
hazardous air pollutant metals, and acid gas hazardous air pollutants 
pose public health hazards.''
  I have to read that again. In the 2012 lawsuit in which Mr. Pruitt 
joined with coal companies against the mercury and air toxics rule, 
which was like 20 years in the making, finally adopted because Congress 
refused to act, said these words: ``The record does not support EPA's 
findings that mercury, non-mercury hazardous air pollutant metals, and 
acid gas hazardous air pollutants pose public health hazards.''
  This is not the first time Mr. Pruitt contradicted the medical and 
scientific community on mercury and the threats it poses to public 
health.
  As I said, EPA took 22 years to get the coal plants to clean up the 
mercury emissions. Every year that our country delayed the cleanup of 
the emissions, more and more mercury settled and accumulated in our 
rivers, streams, lakes, and fish.
  I don't know how many lakes they have in Oklahoma, but I know that in 
2010, there were fewer than 20 on which there were issued fish 
consumption advisories because of mercury. I know last year that number 
more than doubled.
  Every State, including Oklahoma, has fish consumption advisories 
because of mercury. As we see here, the number under Mr. Pruitt's watch 
has seen the mercury-caused fish advisories to actually more than 
double in the last 6 years.
  In 2012, Dr. Charles Driscoll from Syracuse University--one of the 
leading mercury scientists in the world--testified before our 
committee. Dr. Driscoll told us that because of the long-term emissions 
of mercury from coal plants, there are--his words--``hotspots and whole 
regions, such as the Adirondacks, the Great Lakes region of the Midwest 
and large portions of the Southeast, where the fish is contaminated 
with mercury.''
  He went on to say: ``There are more fish consumption advisories in 
the U.S. for mercury than all contaminants combined.''
  Instead of agreeing with leading scientists on this issue, Mr. Pruitt 
has come to a different conclusion.
  I think we have a poster that speaks to this.
  Mr. Pruitt's 2012 lawsuit with the coal companies against EPA's 
mercury protection stated:

       The record does not support EPA's finding that mercury . . 
     . poses public health hazards. . . . Human exposure to 
     methylmercury resulting from coal fired EGUs is exceedingly 
     small.

  Mr. Pruitt argued that, despite the fact that every State has at 
least one mercury fish consumption advisory and despite there being 40 
lakes in his own State of Oklahoma now that have mercury fish 
advisories, we shouldn't worry about mercury pollution from our 
country's largest source of emissions. That denial of facts makes no 
sense. Luckily, the courts rejected Mr. Pruitt's arguments that the 
mercury and air toxic rules should be vacated. Four years later, most 
coal plants are meeting the new standards, and we are already seeing 
the benefits.
  Just a few weeks ago, some of my Environment and Public Works 
colleagues and I heard from Dr. Lynn Goldman, a pediatrician and former 
EPA Assistant Administrator for Toxic Substances, about this very issue 
when she said: ``U.S. efforts to reduce mercury emissions, including 
from power plants, are benefiting public health faster than could have 
been predicted in 1990.''
  Great news. Dr. Goldman's comments stand in stark contrast to the 
ones made in Mr. Pruitt's latest mercury lawsuit, filed just 2 months 
before his confirmation hearing. In this most recent lawsuit, Mr. 
Pruitt argued that the benefits of cleaning powerplant mercury 
emissions are ``too speculative'' and--again, his words--``not 
supported by the scientific literature.'' Really? The lawsuit goes on 
to conclude that it is not ``appropriate and necessary'' for the EPA to 
regulate mercury and other air toxic emissions.
  So Mr. Pruitt argued just 3 months ago that it is not appropriate or 
necessary for the EPA to regulate the largest source of mercury 
pollution--a pollutant that we know damages children's brains and could 
impact up to 600,000 newborns every year. Just 3 months ago, Mr. Pruitt 
listened to the industry instead of listening to our Nation's 
pediatricians when determining what is good for our children's health. 
Just 3 months ago, Mr. Pruitt sided with coal companies instead of our 
leading scientists. Just 3 months ago, Mr. Pruitt argued that States 
should be on their own when it comes to dealing with toxic pollution 
that crosses State borders.
  In Mr. Pruitt's confirmation hearing, I asked about these lawsuits 
and his views on regulating mercury and air toxics from powerplants. He 
was evasive and misleading, I believe, in his answers and claimed his 
lawsuits were merely about process. Process.
  Well, let's be perfectly clear. Mr. Pruitt's lawsuits are trying to 
undermine a rule that protects the health of our children and our 
grandchildren. His extreme views on mercury pollution clearly show Mr. 
Pruitt believes that Americans have to make a choice between having a 
strong economy and a safe, clean environment. I think this is a false 
choice. We can have both, and indeed we must have both.
  His extreme views on mercury pollution also show that Mr. Pruitt will 
side with polluters over science and doctors--maybe not every time, but 
way too often.
  Americans deserve an EPA Administrator who believes in sound science 
and who will listen to the medical experts when it comes to our health 
and be able to strike a balance between a strong environment and a 
strong economy. I don't believe Mr. Pruitt will be such an 
Administrator, which is why I am asking my colleagues to join me in 
voting against his confirmation.
  I see we have been joined on the floor by the Senator from Indiana. I 
am prepared to hit the pause button for a few minutes and welcome my 
friend. I welcome him and thank him for his commitment, not just to the 
people of Indiana but to our country and embracing the Golden Rule, the 
idea that we have to look out for each other.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Madam President, it is an honor and a privilege to be 
here with my colleague from Delaware. I wish to take a few moments to 
talk about the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be the Administrator of 
the Environmental Protection Agency.
  I have expressed my fair share of constructive criticism of the EPA 
over the years. I wish the Agency would work more effectively with 
States and stakeholders. Collaborative partnerships are the best way to 
ensure that our environmental policies meet our fundamental 
responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, while also being 
narrowly tailored to avoid overburdening Hoosier families and 
businesses.
  Teamwork is what will give us the best chance at responding 
effectively to emergencies like the ones facing my friends in the East 
Chicago neighborhood of West Calumet. Cooperation with farmers, not 
overregulation, is how we keep nutrients and inputs in the field and 
improve water quality.
  If confirmed, I hope Scott Pruitt will focus on improving the EPA's 
working relationship with State partners and all stakeholders as the 
Agency engages in its mission to protect our environment. That is an 
issue I have been working on for years, and I will continue to do so. I 
cannot, however, support Scott Pruitt's nomination to lead the EPA.
  When I think of who should lead the EPA, given all the Hoosiers who 
are impacted by the rules and policies developed by this Agency, I 
think of how we are all dependent on clean air and water, but I also 
think of the last time an EPA Administrator visited my home State. It 
was in 2013, in a cold barn in Whiteland, IN, when then-Administrator 
Gina McCarthy visited with me and a number of my good friends--Hoosier 
farmers from across the State. It was the morning after the EPA had 
announced drastic cuts to the renewable fuel standard--not an ideal 
time to be Administrator of the EPA in a barn with a group of Hoosier 
farmers.
  That morning, farmers told the story of how important the renewable 
fuel

[[Page S1346]]

standard is to rural economies and our national security. They told 
Administrator McCarthy how her Agency's decision had eliminated market 
opportunities for their products, for all of the things they had been 
growing, and it meant that we were putting our energy security at risk 
as well because less ethanol and biodiesel being used meant importing 
more foreign oil instead of growing our fuel on Hoosier farms.
  A few days later, Scott Pruitt sent out a press release calling those 
RFS cuts ``good news'' and highlighting his earlier efforts suing the 
EPA in an attempt to block the regulatory approval of E15. I cannot 
support an EPA nominee who has sued the EPA to stop the sale of E15 and 
who praised the erosion of a policy designed to strengthen our energy 
security and to promote homegrown Hoosier biofuels.
  If confirmed, however, I look forward to working with Scott Pruitt to 
develop a better and more collaborative approach to regulation by the 
EPA. We have very, very important work to do, including cleaning up 
environmental dangers in our communities, like those in East Chicago; 
ensuring the safety of drinking water systems; developing a better 
WOTUS rule; and finding a workable solution to address climate change.
  That work in East Chicago is going to prevent me from being able to 
be here to vote against the Pruitt nomination. The Governor of our 
State has called a working meeting today in East Chicago with the 
mayor, State and local elected officials, representatives from HUD and 
EPA, and other neighborhood stakeholders. It is of utmost importance 
for me to be on the ground with the community to let them know we are 
listening and we are working to get the resolution they deserve and to 
protect their health and safety.
  As I will be heading back home to Indiana before the vote on the 
Scott Pruitt nomination, I would like the record to state that, if 
here, I would have voted against the nomination of Scott Pruitt for the 
EPA.
  I wish to recognize my colleague and friend from Delaware, who has 
done such an extraordinary job in protecting the resources of this 
country and in protecting the security of this country as well--his 
love for his home State, with the beautiful beaches, beautiful oceans. 
And my home State--we have the Great Lakes, which are an extraordinary 
resource, which we are so blessed to have, and which are a trust we 
keep for one generation after another. I have always felt it my 
obligation to make sure I turn over those lakes and, in fact, the 
oceans in better condition than we receive.
  I yield to my colleague from Delaware.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, I thank my friend for those kind and 
generous remarks. I thank him for coming to Delaware. I have been 
privileged to visit the Hoosier State any number of times. I have a 
basketball in my office from Notre Dame, and I know our friend from 
Indiana is a huge Notre Dame fan. Their basketball coach, Mike Brey, is 
the former basketball coach of the University of Delaware. Just like 
air pollution and water pollution can move across borders, so can head 
coaches of great basketball teams.
  Tomorrow night, God willing, I will be at the Bob Carpenter Center at 
the University of Delaware to watch the University of Delaware's men's 
basketball team play. Our new head coach is one of Mike Brey's 
assistants who has come to our State to head us up. We look forward to 
seeing how he and our Fightin' Blue Hens do.
  I thank the Senator for sharing--a whole lot less air pollution--
after stealing our basketball coach, a very good replacement; I guess 
not the player to be named later but the coach to be named later.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Madam President, the Senator's efforts on this have 
been extraordinary. To see the depth of concern the Senator has for our 
oceans, for our lands--we have both worked so hard to make sure we can 
work together with our farm communities to keep inputs on the farm, to 
protect our rivers, to protect our streams. We know how hard our 
farmers are working on that as well. I know the Senator has a 
tremendous and strong farm community in Delaware. It was a privilege to 
sit and listen while the Senator was speaking before.
  I will note, as he said, you may have sent us a basketball coach, but 
in return, we sent you one as well.
  I turn the floor over to my colleague from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, one of the things I love about the 
Senator from Indiana is he understands there is a Golden Rule. We are 
one another's neighbors, and we need to treat others the way we want to 
be treated. States need to treat other States the way they would want 
to be treated.
  He also understands a very valuable principle: that it is actually 
possible to have cleaner air, cleaner water, and strengthen our 
economy.
  When I was an undergrad at Ohio State, a midshipman there, I remember 
a time up north of us in Cleveland, OH, when the Cuyahoga River caught 
on fire. The kind of smog we have now in parts of the country, running 
in places in California, when I was stationed in California in the Navy 
for a while--there are days when I ran that I knew I wasn't doing a 
good thing for my lungs.
  We have done a lot better than that. While we cleaned up rivers like 
the Cuyahoga River and we cleaned up the air in a lot of places in the 
country, we still have work to do. We have made those changes and those 
improvements and developed technology that we have been able to sell 
all over the world. That is a good thing.
  I thank my friend for getting up at this hour of the day and joining 
us here and for his leadership, not just in Indiana but here in the 
Senate. It has been a joy. Thank you.
  I want to go back to what I was talking about earlier--Scott Pruitt's 
views. I think they are extreme, uninformed views on mercury 
regulation. Mr. Pruitt's views on core clean air and clean water laws 
and the somewhat misleading and oftentimes evasive answers he has given 
to Members of this body, including myself, ought to be reason enough 
for Members of this body to reject his nomination.
  Two months prior to his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt filed his 
third major legal action against the EPA's mercury and air toxics rule. 
This case is still pending before the courts.
  For those who don't know the EPA's mercury and air toxics rule, it 
requires our Nation's largest source of mercury pollution--coal-fired 
plants--to reduce mercury in a wider range of air toxins.
  The EPA issued this rule in 2012, and because of the low cost of 
compliance, most utilities are already meeting the standards. We made 
more progress at a faster time, at a lower cost than was actually 
anticipated. The same thing is true with the elimination of acid rain 
in New England. The deal that was worked out was a cap-and-trade 
approach, but the idea was developed when George Herbert Walker Bush 
was President. We ended up with better results for less money and 
faster time than was anticipated. We can do this.
  Mr. Pruitt filed his latest lawsuit alongside with one of the 
Nation's largest coal companies, Murray Energy Corporation, arguing 
that the benefits of cleaning up powerplant and mercury and air toxic 
emissions are ``too speculative'' and not necessary.
  Mr. Pruitt goes on to argue that there are only ``hypothetically 
exposed persons'' from mercury and air toxic emissions from 
powerplants. Imagine that--``hypothetically exposed persons.'' Again, I 
would say: Really?
  Finally, Mr. Pruitt argues: ``The EPA cannot properly conclude it is 
appropriate and necessary to regulate hazardous air pollutants under 
Section 112.''
  His boiled-down arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC 
Circuit is basically this: If the EPA cannot quantify benefits in 
dollars, then those benefits don't count. Never mind that we know the 
real-world health threats to people this kind of air pollution poses.
  The idea of looking at public health protection only through the lens 
of dollars and cents is not a new one, but it can be a dangerous one. 
The tools we have for projecting costs and putting a dollar value on 
the health benefits are not gospel and are not the only way of 
analyzing the economic impacts of reducing pollution on a community. 
With toxic substances, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury, health 
benefits are sometimes difficult to quantify.

[[Page S1347]]

  Meanwhile, the EPA is chock-full of examples where benefits are 
underestimated and costs overestimated once programs are implemented 
and businesses find efficient ways of cutting pollution. In my part of 
the country, we call that Yankee intuition.
  Mr. Pruitt's argument ignores that it is difficult, if not 
impossible, to quantify the loss of IQ, increased risk of cancer, or 
other long-term health effects known to occur when exposed to mercury 
and air toxic emissions.
  In Mr. Pruitt's world, if we can't accurately translate loss of IQ 
into dollars lost, the benefits of cleaning up mercury for other 
children is ``too speculative'' for it to be ``necessary and 
appropriate'' for EPA to act. As a father of three sons, I find this 
way of thinking alarming.
  I have a poster here with a message from a woman in Wilmington, DE. 
Wilmington is in the northern part of the State, where our 
congressional delegation and Governor and his family live.
  This is from Sarah. I would ask Mr. Pruitt this: How much does it 
cost to lose an organ like I have, to lose a parent or child from 
cancer? How much do sick days and inhalers cost? Families are 
struggling to make ends meet. Many of these costs are not in dollars 
alone.
  Thank you, Sarah.
  Sarah is a mother and a registered nurse. She wrote to me earlier 
this month to express her concerns regarding Mr. Pruitt's nomination. 
In her letter, she explained to me that she was born in 1978, in 
Western New York State. It is miles away from the Love Canal 
neighborhood. It is the site of one of the most appalling environmental 
disasters in American history.
  For those who don't know or don't recall, Love Canal was a planned 
community that eventually had to be evacuated after 22,000 barrels of 
toxic waste were dumped into the nearby canal--22,000 barrels. Families 
whose homes were contaminated with chemicals and toxic waste had to 
leave. Many faced serious health challenges later in their lives. These 
were the real threats we faced before we had the EPA or laws on the 
books that held polluters accountable for dumping hazardous chemicals 
in our waters.
  Sarah's mother was pregnant with her while Love Canal was being 
evacuated, just 7 miles away from their home. Fast forward a few 
decades. When Sarah was 30, she found out that she had thyroid cancer. 
Doctors told her that exposure to radiation, perhaps from the 
radioactive hotspots near her hometown, is a proven risk factor for 
thyroid cancer.
  Sarah now has a daughter of her own who, unfortunately, suffers from 
reactive airway disease that causes her trouble breathing, and symptoms 
can last anywhere from a few minutes to hours at a time.
  Sarah, in her letter, said to me:

       Mr. Pruitt believes that the EPA places economic hardships 
     on businesses through unnecessary regulation. True economic 
     hardship is experienced by those who are often least 
     protected by environmental laws.

  She went on to say:

       I would ask Mr. Pruitt: How much does it ``cost'' to lose 
     an organ like I have? To lose a parent or child to cancer? 
     How much do sick days and inhalers cost families already 
     struggling to make ends meet? What is the life path of a 
     person who starts out with compromised lungs? Many of these 
     costs are not in dollars alone.

  Sarah couldn't be more right. An EPA Administrator must be able to 
understand the true human cost of rolling back or eliminating critical 
environmental regulations.
  Mr. Pruitt's persistent and extreme views--or at least extreme views 
in my mind--on the mercury and air toxics rule are some of the reasons 
I have grave concerns about his nomination to be EPA Administrator.
  I can't help but wonder if Mr. Pruitt will continue to fight this 
rule--not from outside the Agency, but from inside the Agency.
  I wonder if Mr. Pruitt would uphold the clean air protection that has 
bipartisan support or if he would kill the rule and take his extreme 
views of cost-benefit analysis broader, to other issues such as 
cleaning up lead in our water or addressing climate change.
  That is why I asked him not once, not twice, but three times about 
his views on the mercury and air toxics rule. I asked him directly 
three times if EPA should move forward with the rule and if EPA should 
be regulating mercury and air toxic emissions from powerplants. Each 
time I asked, the more evasive and misleading the answers became.
  In our three exchanges, I was very clear that I was asking about 
EPA's regulations and the authority to address mercury emissions from 
powerplants.
  However, in Mr. Pruitt's answers, he was very careful to mention that 
mercury pollution should be regulated under the Clean Air Act but never 
said that mercury and other air toxic emissions from powerplants should 
be or must be regulated.
  Mercury, as it turns out, is emitted by many sources. Coal-fired 
powerplants happen to be the largest emitter in this country. Under 
section 112 of the Clean Air Act, Congress listed mercury as a 
hazardous air pollutant and required the EPA to regulate all major 
emissions sources.
  It seems that Mr. Pruitt tried to avoid the questions I asked him 
about controlling mercury and air toxic powerplant emissions. He, 
instead, answered about regulating mercury more broadly.
  While he was trying to evade the questions, what he did say was very 
misleading to the committee.
  In our second exchange, I mentioned his three lawsuits against the 
mercury and air toxics rule. I asked Mr. Pruitt if he believed the EPA 
should not move forward with this rule and, if there were no rule, how 
would States clean up mercury?
  Mr. Pruitt answered: ``I actually have not stated that I believe the 
EPA should not move forward on regulating mercury or adopting 
rulemaking in that regard.''
  He went on to say: ``There is not a statement--or belief--that I have 
that mercury is something that shouldn't be regulated under Section 112 
as a Hazardous Air Pollutant.''
  Well, anyone who supports the mercury and air toxics rule and heard 
that might be very encouraged by these comments.
  Sadly, Mr. Pruitt is on record many times stating that the EPA should 
not move forward regulating mercury and air toxic powerplant emissions.
  Here are a few quotes from the legal briefs that Mr. Pruitt filed in 
his many lawsuits against this rule that directly contradict his 
statements in our hearing.
  In his first lawsuit against the mercury and air toxics rule, called 
White Stallion v. EPA, Mr. Pruitt argued: ``Finally, the record does 
not support EPA's findings that mercury, non-mercury Hazardous Air 
Pollutant metals, and acid gas Hazardous Air Pollutants pose public 
health hazards.''
  In his most recent case with Murray Energy, he argues that, with 
respect to powerplant mercury emissions, the ``EPA cannot properly 
conclude that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate Hazardous Air 
Pollutants under Section 112.''
  These statements go well beyond questioning the ``process.'' Instead, 
they suggest the EPA should not be regulating mercury and toxic air 
emissions from powerplants.
  This is not what even Trump voters voted for in November. They did 
not go to the polls hoping that the new President would make their air 
dirtier or their water more polluted.
  This is another case of this nominee trying to mislead, or at least 
obscure, the truth before Congress. It is a troublesome pattern that I 
fear will only get worse if Mr. Pruitt is confirmed as EPA 
Administrator.
  With that, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I want to continue to share with you and 
my colleagues the reasons I am opposed to the nomination of Attorney 
General Scott Pruitt to be the Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency.
  What we do know about Mr. Pruitt's past record--and there is still a 
good deal we don't know and are not able to learn in committee. We know 
Mr. Pruitt abandoned his responsibilities to

[[Page S1348]]

protect Oklahomans from harmful pollution. Instead of holding polluters 
and bad actors in the State accountable, Mr. Pruitt spent a lot of his 
time as attorney general in Oklahoma suing the Environmental Protection 
Agency.
  These days, going after the EPA public health protection seems like a 
popular thing to do. In fact, the EPA is often a target of nasty tweets 
from our current President.
  Without the burning rivers or thick smog and soot in the air, which 
used to be all too common, some may presume that there is not much more 
for the EPA to do to protect the public health of our country from 
pollution. People may presume that our environmental protection 
problems are behind us, and States can take care of themselves when it 
comes to clean air and clean water, as Mr. Pruitt has suggested time 
and again.
  I am a recovering Governor, a former Governor for 8 years. I have 
huge regard for what Governors can do, States can do. There is a lot we 
can do, but not everything. That is not the idea--that States can 
simply take care of themselves when it comes to clean air and water, 
and there is no need for Federal oversight. It is just wrong. I think 
it is untrue. The EPA continues to play a critical role in protecting 
our health, especially for the most vulnerable, including the very 
young and the elderly. The environmental threats we face today are real 
and do not respect State borders.
  One such threat is ozone, known to some as smog pollution. Five 
times, Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA over regulations to require new 
ozone, smog protections. Several of these lawsuits are still pending 
before the courts.
  Mr. Pruitt's actions against ozone health protection are deeply 
concerning to me, as I represent a State at the end of what many of us 
on the east coast call America's tailpipe. Emissions come up from the 
Midwest, largely, and blow from west to east and end up in our air and 
in our water. Ninety percent of the smog and air pollution in Delaware 
comes from outside of our State, partly from hundreds of miles away--
places like Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and across the Midwest.
  I said many times as Governor of Delaware that I could have 
eliminated every source of pollution within my State--shut down the 
factories, cleared every car off the road, stopped trains and transit 
or boats. Delaware would still face the deadly doses of air pollution, 
not from our own emissions, but from those blowing in our State from 
hundreds of miles away.
  We have a chart here to my left that we call the Ozone Report Card. 
Ozone is smog pollution. It deals not with quality of air pollution in 
Delaware, but it is a report card for Oklahoma. Cross-state ozone air 
pollution continues to be a major problem for our State, but it also is 
for many States across the country.
  In Mr. Pruitt's own home State of Oklahoma, every county with an air 
quality monitor--16 counties; they have more than 16 counties, but 16 
have air quality monitors--has an unhealthy level of ozone pollution, 
according to the American Lung Association. The American Lung 
Association assigns grades in subjects, just as for our pages here in 
school. My home State has A's and B's. The Oklahoma Lung Association 
assigns a grade for ozone pollution. In these 16 counties, they 
assigned a grade of F, not just in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10--all 16.
  For decades, we have known that air pollution is linked to serious 
health problems like asthma attacks, strokes, heart attacks, and other 
respiratory illnesses. Most recently, ozone has been linked to early 
deaths.
  We have another chart that refers to Oklahoma's asthma rate. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6.3 
million children in this country have been diagnosed with asthma--6.3 
million children diagnosed with asthma. In Mr. Pruitt's home State of 
Oklahoma, 1 in 10 children have asthma, which is higher than the 
national average. That is 6.3 million children nationwide, and more 
than 112,000 in Oklahoma who have to worry, during the high ozone days, 
if they are going to have an asthma attack.
  Recognizing the very real dangers of ozone pollution, Congress passed 
the EPA to provide our country with the ozone air quality standards 
based on the best science available, and they review that standard 
every 5 years. After reviewing more than 1,000 medical and scientific 
studies, the EPA concluded about 2 years ago, in 2015, that the 2008 
ozone health standard was too weak and no longer adequately protected 
public health.
  The EPA's 2015 rule was purely a statement of fact to protect our 
health. To protect the 6.3 million children with asthma, we need less 
ozone pollution in our air. To protect 112,000 children with asthma in 
Oklahoma, we need a stronger air quality standard.
  Fortunately, many of today's biggest emitters of ozone pollution, 
such as older coal plants, are already scheduled to be cleaned up. This 
means the costs of compliance are not as high as they might have been 
2, 4, or 6 years ago.
  As attorney general, Mr. Pruitt had a choice between two paths. If he 
had taken the first path, Mr. Pruitt could have worked with his 
Department of Environmental Quality and the business community to 
ensure ozone polluters in his own State cleaned up. He could have 
worked with the EPA, not against it. By doing so, he would have 
protected Oklahomans and citizens living in downwind States from ozone 
pollution and helped economic growth and the State at the same time. It 
is important to note that many attorneys general in this country 
decided to take this path, including our own attorney general, Matt 
Denn, in Delaware.
  Instead, Mr. Pruitt took a second path, the one that led to suing the 
Agency, the EPA, in an attempt to weaken protections. It is no surprise 
that Mr. Pruitt chose to sue the EPA, based on his clear record.
  I have a poster here with some of his own words. After all, it was 
Mr. Pruitt who just last summer explicitly said it bothers him that 
Congress and the EPA work together to ensure Americans have clean air 
to breathe--or appears to say that. Specifically, here is what he said:

       Legislation should not be ``we like clean air, so go make 
     clean air.'' That's something that bothers me, that then 
     Congress gives to EPA this general grant of authority.

  That was at Hillsdale College in July of 2016. I would just ask, What 
then does Mr. Pruitt think the role of EPA is? It is hardly some kind 
of extreme overreach to keep deadly pollutants out of the air we 
breathe. I think most people think that. Mr. Pruitt chose to sue the 
EPA over the science used to justify in writing the regulations, citing 
the polluters over the medical and scientific experts who have 
published over 1,000 scientific studies that the EPA has reviewed.
  Mr. Pruitt did not stop there. He also sued the EPA over protections 
for downwind States. Delaware is one of them. Let me repeat that. Mr. 
Pruitt not only sued the EPA over science used in the 2015 ozone rule, 
but he also sued the EPA over the good neighbor rule to make sure all 
States do their fair share to clean up the air. Without the good 
neighbor rule, Delawareans, and all Americans living in downwind 
States, will be forced to live with the consequences of decisions made 
by polluters hundreds or thousands of miles from them. Mr. Pruitt took 
the stance that every citizen in this country does not have the right 
to breathe clean air. Mr. Pruitt took the stance that the lawyers and 
polluters know better than scientists and medical experts when it comes 
to ozone pollution and health.
  The President is asking us in this body to confirm Mr. Pruitt as our 
EPA Administrator. As Senators, we can also choose between two paths. 
The first path is protecting public health and ensuring that those who 
elected us have clean air to breathe. The second path is protecting 
polluters. I will be taking the path that protects the health of my 
constituents. I urge my colleagues to do the same for theirs.
  In just a moment, I am going to pause. Before I do, I mention this 
good neighbor rule. Some people call it the cross-border rule. The idea 
behind it is that we ought to treat one another as neighbors.
  Where does the good neighbor rule come from? It actually comes from 
the Bible. And it comes not just from the Bible, it comes from almost 
every major religion in the world--the idea that we ought to treat 
other people the way we want to be treated. If you look at every major 
religion in the world, it pretty much says that.
  In the New Testament, some will recall, there is a passage where the 
Pharisees were after this young Rabbi,

[[Page S1349]]

a couple thousand years ago, trying to put Him on the spot. They said: 
You are so smart, young Rabbi, why don't You tell us what is the 
greatest rule of law, the greatest commandment of all? He said: Not 
one, there are two. He mentioned the first. Then He said: The second is 
love thy neighbor as thyself.
  One of the pharisees said to Him: Who is our neighbor? And He went on 
to tell them the parable of the good Samaritan. A man traveling through 
the country was attacked, left for dead in a ditch. Later in the day, 
three people walked by, one from a part of the country where this guy 
was sort of his neighbor. He walked on by. Next, a person of the cloth, 
a rabbi, walked on by. He didn't stop. The third guy that came through 
was from a place called Samaria. They are like at enmity, at odds with 
one another. They are not friendly; they are at odds with one another.
  He saw the fellow had been beaten and left for dead. He ministered to 
him and put him on his animal and took him to an inn. For a day and a 
night, he tried to help him get better. After the second day, the guy 
from Samaria had to leave and had to go someplace else. He said to the 
innkeeper: This fellow still isn't well enough to travel, but here is 
some money to help pay for his care here for another day or two. When I 
come back through, if you need more money or it costs more, I will even 
up with you. He left, but he left the guy who had been beaten in a lot 
better shape.
  After telling His story, the young Rabbi turned to the pharisee and 
he said: Who was the good neighbor?
  Well, there was the one--the first fellow who came by who took pity 
on the guy who had been beaten and left for dead and treated him the 
way he would have wanted to be treated.
  That is really the foundation of the good neighbor rule that the EPA 
has promulgated. It is the foundation of the idea that pollution does 
cross borders and because of that, we need to have--if we can't pass a 
law, we need some kind of rule or regulation to ensure that everybody 
is being a good neighbor because it is not fair that my State--that we 
can pretty much close down my State's economy, transportation systems, 
powerplants, and still have a problem with air quality. That is just 
not fair.
  I think next we are going to look at some editorial statements that 
are in opposition to Mr. Pruitt. I know there are editorial statements 
that support him. I don't have any of those today, not surprisingly. 
But I do want to go through a couple from newspapers around the 
country: New York Times, Bangor News up in Maine, L.A. Times, Denver 
Post, Chicago Sun Times, Dallas Morning News.
  I have received a number of letters from Delawareans about the 
nomination of Mr. Pruitt to lead the EPA. For the record, as of I guess 
last night, my office had received a total of seven letters, emails, or 
faxes supporting Mr. Pruitt's nomination. I guess this is from all 
sources, not just Delaware. But we have gotten seven letters supporting 
Mr. Pruitt's nomination. I received 1,880 letters opposing his 
nomination. That is pretty amazing. We don't get this kind of volume of 
letters, emails, or faxes, but 1,880 opposed, 7 letters supporting.
  But it is not just Delawareans who are worried about the idea of Mr. 
Pruitt at the helm of EPA; over the past 3 months, editorial boards 
across our country have expressed their own serious concerns about this 
nominee as well.
  I want to share a few of those with my colleagues and the world this 
morning. Back in December, the New York Times wrote these words. I will 
read them. This is from December, a couple of months ago:

       Had Donald Trump spent an entire year scouring the country 
     for someone to weaken clean air and clean water laws and 
     repudiate America's leadership role in the global battle 
     against climate change, he could not have found a more 
     suitable candidate than Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney 
     General.

  That is a pretty bold charge. The editorial describes Mr. Pruitt's 
nomination--it goes on to say ``an aggressively bad choice''; ``a poke 
in the eye to a long history of bipartisan cooperation on environmental 
issues.''
  Again, the EPA was not created in a law signed by a Democrat, it was 
by a Republican.
  The Times goes on to say ``bad choice''; ``a poke in the eye . . . to 
a nation that has come to depend on an agency for healthy air and 
drinkable water.''
  And to the 195 countries that agreed in Paris last year to reduce 
their emissions, climate-changing greenhouse gas, in the belief that 
the United States should show the way, the Times concludes with these 
words: ``Mr. Pruitt is the wrong person to lead an agency charged with 
the custody of the nation's environment.''
  The Senate cares about public good and needs to send his nomination 
to the dustbin.
  But I know that not everyone is a huge fan of the New York Times 
these days, so let's move a little further north. Let's go up to Maine. 
They have a paper up there called the Bangor Daily News. I have a 
poster from them as well. Last month, the Bangor Daily News Editorial 
Board wrote these words. Again, this is last month:

       As attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has been openly 
     hostile to the EPA's mission of protecting human health by 
     regulating dangerous pollutants, such as mercury and carbon 
     dioxide. Someone who has repeatedly tried to prevent the EPA 
     from doing its job surely should be disqualified from 
     overseeing the agency.

  You know, we generally believe that Presidents have wide latitude in 
choosing the members of their Cabinet. I think Governors should have 
wide latitude. As a former Governor, I said to our Delaware 
Legislature: I have been elected; give me the opportunity to put 
together my own team and judge us on our performance.
  However, some nominees of some Presidents are so--probably Democrats 
and Republicans, but especially in this case, with this President--some 
nominees are so unqualified or philosophically unfit that Senators 
should use their constitutional powers to reject them. Scott Pruitt, 
President Donald Trump's pick to head the EPA, is one of those 
nominees.
  I voted for more of the nominees of this President than against. 
Several of them are quite good. I serve on a committee called Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs. To succeed Secretary Jeh Johnson, 
the President nominated retired Marine general John Francis Kelly, who 
was a terrific soldier, marine, leader for our country, and will be a 
great Secretary. I wish they were all of his caliber. I wish they were.
  The Bangor paper went on to write:

       Critics of the EPA tend to focus on rules and laws that the 
     agency is involved in writing that protect little-known 
     animals or landscapes, such as wetlands. But, the agency's 
     primary mission is to safeguard the health of Americans 
     through landmark laws such as Clean Water Act and Clean Air 
     Act.

  Finally at the Bangor paper, they got to what is really at stake with 
Scott Pruitt at the head of EPA when we have a President who has 
repeatedly said he would like to get rid of the EPA in almost every 
forum. This is what they said at the Bangor News:

       We are under no illusions that Mr. Trump is suddenly going 
     to become a champion of environmental protection, even if 
     that is synonymous with protecting human life. But Pruitt is 
     so hostile to the EPA's core mission that putting him in 
     charge would move the United States dangerously backwards.

  But it is not just the east coast editorial boards that are worried 
about Scott Pruitt's nomination. Let's go to the west coast, the L.A. 
Times in California, the State that has led the way in environmental 
protection. The L.A. Times Editorial Board wrote--let's see if we have 
a date. It is February 4, this month. This is what they wrote:

       Yes, Trump won the election, and as president, he's 
     entitled to appoint people who reflect his political views. 
     But when the president's policies and appointees pose such a 
     fundamental threat to the nation, even a Senate controlled by 
     his fellow Republicans--whose first loyalty should be to the 
     people of the United States--must put the nation's best 
     interests ahead of party loyalty.

  They continue at the L.A. Times and say:

       Pruitt wouldn't run the agency as just another small-
     government Republican interested in paring excessive 
     limitations on business. He actually disagrees with the 
     fundamental mission of the EPA. He has argued that the 
     federal government should play a lesser role in environmental 
     protection, and that primary control should be given to the 
     states.

  That is wrongheaded. Putting West Virginia, my native State, in 
charge of

[[Page S1350]]

its coal industry or Texas in charge of its oil industry would lead to 
horrific environmental damage, not just there but in the neighboring 
States downwind and downstream, according to the L.A. Times Editorial 
Board.
  The L.A. Times Editorial concludes by saying:

       Putting Pruitt in charge of the EPA, however, poses an 
     irreversible risk to the planet, and the Senate needs to 
     ensure that doesn't happen.

  It is not just the coastal editorial boards that have opposed Mr. 
Pruitt. The Denver Post noted that--these are their words from 2 months 
ago, December 8, 2016:

       It looks like Trump truly does wish to dismantle the EPA. 
     His pick of Scott Pruitt to lead it strikes us as 
     unnecessarily reckless, and we urge the Senate to deny 
     confirmation and to demand a better way forward.

  It is not on the poster, but the Denver paper went on to add: Does 
the Nation really want a Big Oil mouthpiece running the agency that's 
charged with the laudable task of keeping our air and water safe?
  Let's head up to Chicago, where the Sun Times was editorializing in 
the great State of Illinois. The Chicago Sun Times Editorial Board--
let's see what we have for a date. It looks like December 8, a couple 
of months ago. This is what they said:

       We are living in a time that calls for stepping up efforts 
     across the board to protect our environment for future 
     generations.
       Unfortunately, President-elect Donald Trump has appointed 
     Scott Pruitt, an open foe of environmental initiatives, to 
     head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That 
     demonstrates a callous disregard for the health of our nation 
     and planet just as rapid technological advances hold out hope 
     for avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

  It went on to say:

       During his campaign, Trump said he would dismantle 
     President Barrack Obama's environmental policies and pull the 
     United States out of the 195-nation Paris accord to reduce 
     greenhouse gases and climate change. After the election, 
     Trump moderated his tone, saying he has an open mind about 
     climate change. His appointment of Pruitt, however, suggests 
     that if he's open to anything, it's strictly more pollution.

  They concluded with these words:

       At a time when serious scientists worry about cataclysmic 
     disasters threatened by climate change, we can't afford to 
     put our future in the hands of an apologist for the fossil 
     fuel industry. America needs an EPA chief who understands the 
     value of environmental successes we have achieved and the 
     critical importance of building on them.

  But perhaps these aren't convincing enough. Travel with me down to 
Texas because they have a problem even in Texas, in the Lone Star 
State. One of the newspapers there, the Dallas Morning News, wrote just 
last week:

       Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a veteran of a 
     years-long courthouse campaign to undermine the Environmental 
     Protection Agency, is the wrong choice to lead the agency 
     under President Donald Trump. It's hard to imagine a worse 
     choice.

  They highlighted the long-term impact of putting Mr. Pruitt in charge 
of the EPA. Here is what they said:

       The post of EPA administrator is a critical one, and 
     nowhere is that more tangible than here in energy-rich Texas.

  Again, this is the Dallas Morning News:

       Many industry voices have already raised toasts to Pruitt's 
     nomination, concluding that his plans to eviscerate the EPA's 
     regulatory oversight of oil and gas companies, and other 
     polluters, will strengthen the state's economic fortunes.

  The Morning News went on to write that the Senators from Texas must 
``look beyond the short-sighted calculus and vote in the long-term 
interests of Texas. Put simply, Texas' economy will be stronger over 
time if its environment is cleaner and if its people are healthier.''
  This is just one of a handful of the editorial boards that have 
raised serious and substantive objections to Mr. Pruitt's nomination, 
and for very good reason. They don't just come from the Northeast or 
from the east coast, they don't just come from the Southeast or the 
Midwest; they come from the west coast and even Texas itself. We ought 
to listen to them. We ought to listen to them. They are not all wrong. 
In fact, I fear they are right.

  With that, I see we have been joined on the floor by a young man from 
Connecticut who came to share some of his own thoughts with us on these 
important topics.
  I just want to thank him for the good work he does in so many areas. 
He and I have been partners together on trying to make sure the people 
of this country have access to affordable healthcare, and we get better 
results for less money, and I applaud him for those efforts, as he 
knows probably better than I, to try to ensure that people are healthy. 
It is not enough just to provide healthcare for them when they get 
sick. We call that sick care. We try to make sure we are doing things 
up front to prevent people from getting sick, to enable them to stay 
healthy. A lot of that really leads right to the work of the 
Environmental Protection Agency.
  Leadership is so important in everything we do. It is the most 
critical factor in everything. Leadership is the key to the success of 
any organization, large or small, that I have ever been a part of or 
observed. I don't care if it is a business, I don't care if it is a 
church, I don't care if it is a school, I don't care if it is a 
military unit, a sports team, or the U.S. Senate, leadership is key. 
The EPA is key.
  Show me enlightened, well-qualified leadership, and I will show you a 
successful operation. We need to be real careful in making sure the EPA 
has the kind of leadership that will lead them and our Nation well into 
the future.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Barrasso). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Once again, let me extend my gratitude to all of the staff who are 
pulling yet another overnight. I know this isn't easy, and I feel like 
every time we have done one of these I have been on the floor during 
the late night or very early morning hours to express my gratitude to 
those who are making this possible.
  While I am grateful for those who are here, I think it is also 
incredibly important and vital that we are here. This is exceptional to 
have so many late nights, to have pushed through the evenings, to stay 
in session 24 hours and 48 hours at a time. I understand that last week 
we engaged in the longest session--second longest continuous session in 
the history of the Chamber, and I think we are doing so because we are 
living through truly exceptional times today.
  We are living through a moment where this administration is simply 
not prepared to govern, and many of the individuals who are being 
appointed to Cabinet positions, being selected to serve in this 
administration simply aren't ready to get the job done.
  We saw that with respect to Michael Flynn, who was named to quite 
possibly the most important position in the national security Cabinet. 
The National Security Advisor is, on most days, the first person and 
the last person the President talks to about national security, about 
protecting the Nation. Many of us raised alarm bells when Mr. Flynn was 
selected for the job because of his radical statements on Islam, his 
questionable connections to Russia, having sat next to Vladimir Putin 
in a celebration of Russian propaganda didn't seem right to us, 
something didn't smell right to many of us. We expressed those 
objections when Mr. Flynn was chosen. Our objections did not prevail, 
and within 30 days Mr. Flynn was fired from his position. It is still 
unclear as to why he was fired. The President was out in front of the 
cameras, bizarrely defending Mr. Flynn to the cameras having just fired 
him 30 days into the job, but it seems that it was some combination of 
undermining a sitting President by attempting to coordinate with the 
Russian Ambassador right after President Obama had levied sanctions on 
Russia, potentially making some promises to the Russians that they 
didn't have to worry about it because once the Trump administration got 
into office, they would modify or lift those sanctions or perhaps it 
was lying to the Vice President and others in the White House about 
what the substance of those conversations were.
  Regardless, within 30 days, maybe the most important person in the 
security Cabinet, who many of us thought

[[Page S1351]]

was unqualified, was fired from his position in the shortest tenure 
that anybody could discover for National Security Advisors.
  More news in the last 48 hours is that there were a host of other 
White House officials who were unceremoniously ushered out of the White 
House because they couldn't pass their criminal background checks. Why 
on earth they were in the White House working in positions if they 
hadn't already taken criminal background checks, that is a very 
important question we should get answers to, but yet another example of 
selection of people to serve in sensitive posts who weren't ready for 
the job.
  Betsy DeVos wasn't ready for her confirmation hearing. She came to 
the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and didn't know 
the basic facts about Federal education law. She couldn't tell the 
difference between measuring proficiency and measuring growth, and 
maybe for most people you don't know the difference either, but if you 
are going to be the Secretary of Education, you have to know the 
difference between measuring for proficiency and measuring for growth. 
She was confused about the Federal law that guarantees children with 
disabilities an equal education. She told Senator Kaine and Senator 
Hassan it would be OK for States to ignore that law or ignore that 
protection. That actually is not the case. Every State has to observe 
the individuals with disabilities law as it pertains to students.
  Just this week, we had a nominee withdraw after a drip, drip, drip of 
allegations regarding his personal conduct and his business practices 
made it pretty clear that somebody whose restaurants are half the time 
in violation of Federal labor laws, somebody who has employed 
undocumented workers probably isn't suitable to be the chief protector 
of workers in this country as the Secretary of the Department of Labor. 
It just doesn't seem that a lot of thought has been put into some of 
these selections.
  So we are taking our time. We are using our prerogative as Members of 
the minority party to make sure there is a full, complete debate on all 
these nominees to make sure, at the very least, the American public 
knows what they are getting.
  Our worry is not just that these nominees are often woefully 
unprepared for the job, it is that many of them appear to be fatally 
compromised. I listened to a lot of what President Trump said on the 
campaign trail, and I heard him spending a lot of time attacking the 
way business had historically been done in Washington, DC. Maybe some 
of us privately cheered him on when we heard him say that because we 
have watched corporate America own this town for a long time.
  I watched the drug industry essentially have veto power over health 
policy in this town. I have watched the oil and gas industry run the 
show. From a personal basis, nothing aggrieves me more than seeing the 
gun industry get whatever they want from this Congress. If you have a 
couple hundred million dollars of market capitalization and a good 
lobbyist and a political action committee you can get a lot done in 
Washington.
  So maybe when I tried to think of that silver lining to the election 
of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States, something that 
was deeply morally objectionable to me, it was that maybe there is a 
possibility to take on some of these special interests, to say enough 
is enough, the size of your wallet shouldn't have anything to do with 
the amount of influence you command here, but then those hopes were 
dashed as we watched who President Trump decided to nominate for the 
Cabinet.
  Over and over again, billionaires, sometimes millionaires, but more 
often than not billionaires were selected for this Cabinet, many of 
whom had ties to the very special interests or were members of the very 
special interests that Donald Trump told people he was going to take on 
when he became President of the United States.
  So we had one of the biggest fast food operators being installed in 
the Department of Labor--somebody who attacked workers and said that 
break time was a nuisance, that robots should replace his employees, we 
had an oil executive nominated to serve as our chief diplomat, and now 
we have an individual who has very publicly and unapologetically done 
the bidding of big energy companies being enlisted to be the chief 
environmental protector in this country.
  So we are here tonight because the nomination and selection of Scott 
Pruitt to be the next Administrator of the EPA fits neatly into a 
pattern of behavior by this administration in which very, very rich 
people or people who have very close ties to powerful interests are 
being put in the government, and our worry is that they are being put 
there not to serve the American people but to serve those interests.
  Scott Pruitt has a very interesting history of defending the oil and 
gas industry, which I admit is important to his State of Oklahoma--more 
important than it is in my State of Connecticut--but he has a very 
interesting history of defending that industry against the EPA. Scott 
Pruitt has sued the EPA to overturn standards to curb mercury and other 
toxic air pollutants, standards that would prevent 11,000 premature 
deaths and up to 130,000 asthma attacks per year.
  He sued to void standards to reduce soot and smog pollution, 
projecting to prevent up to 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, to prevent 
34,000 premature deaths, and almost 400,000 asthma attacks every year.
  He sued unsuccessfully to overturn the EPA's scientific danger 
determination that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping air 
pollutants are harmful, and he even sued to block water pollution into 
the Chesapeake Bay which has no connection to Oklahoma.
  Scott Pruitt has been a crusader. He has been a crusader on behalf of 
the energy industry against environmental protection, and he would 
probably tell you there is a choice to be made between protecting our 
environment and protecting our economy. That is ridiculous. That is 
patently ridiculous.
  If we don't protect our planet, if we don't protect the quality of 
our air and the quality of our water, there will be no planet for 
businesses to grow in, and every kid who suffers through a lifetime of 
asthma is a fundamentally less productive worker to be able to add 
value to the American economy. When you are attacking health standards 
that would reduce asthma attacks by over 500,000 a year, you are 
attacking the economy, not just the environment.
  It is really hard for a kid to learn and become an entrepreneur or a 
business creator if they are not healthy. Frankly, it is really hard 
for a family to be able to manage their own economic affairs when they 
have kids who are that unhealthy. So Scott Pruitt, in continuing to 
attack the EPA, continuing to stand up for the oil and gas industry, is 
weakening our economy.
  Maybe even more importantly, when you are standing up for only one 
segment of the energy industry, you are ignoring all the potential jobs 
that come through a true energy transformation. I get it that today 
there are a lot of oil jobs in Oklahoma, but there could also be a lot 
of wind and solar and advanced battery and fuel cell jobs in his State 
as well. Frankly, as you look at the jobs that will be created over the 
next 50 to 100 years, not just in this country but across the globe, 
the real job growth in the energy sector is not just going to be in the 
oil and gas sector, it is going to be in this broader renewable energy 
sector.
  I don't know if these statistics are up to date, but a few years ago, 
I read that, of the top 10 solar companies in the world, the United 
States has one of them; of the top 10 wind turbine companies in the 
world, the United States has one; and of the top 10 advanced battery 
companies in the world, the United States has two. There are going to 
be millions and millions of jobs to be had all across the world in the 
renewable energy economy.
  So long as our energy policy is only about protecting oil and gas and 
coal and not about truly advancing renewable energy, we are hurting our 
economy; we are preventing massive job creation from happening; and we 
are letting other countries eat our lunch because 9 out of those 10 top 
wind turbine companies and top solar companies and 8 out of those top 
10 advanced battery companies are in other countries--other countries 
that have decided to have policies that create internal markets for 
those new renewable technologies, unlike here in the United States.

[[Page S1352]]

  Germany is pumping out wind turbines and is selling them all over the 
globe, not because Germany has any more wind than the United States but 
because they have decided to pursue a policy in which they give 
advantage to those renewable energy companies. The United States has 
decided to pursue policies, by and large, through giving advantage to 
fossil fuel companies.
  In making his name as a crusader against the EPA, not only is Scott 
Pruitt endangering the health of our kids, but he is endangering the 
health of our economy as well. It is not guesswork when it comes to the 
connection of Scott Pruitt to the industry. If he had really studied 
the facts and if he had sat down and sort of weighed the benefits of 
the industry's claims against the benefits of the claims of 99 percent 
of the scientists in this country, it would be worth a listen.
  But, as attorney general of Oklahoma, he sent a letter to the EPA, 
skewering its efforts to limit methane leaks from oil and gas 
companies. He didn't write the letter. Nobody on his staff wrote the 
letter. Oklahoma's Devon Energy Corporation wrote the letter. Pruitt's 
office changed a few words and sent it on to the EPA on the attorney 
general's stationery. That is how close the relationship is between 
Scott Pruitt and these energy companies. He just takes what they 
write--what they say--and forwards it on under his own signature. If 
you were to do that in a classroom, that would be plagiarism, and you 
would get kicked out of school; but if you were to do that as the 
attorney general of Oklahoma, you would get nominated to be the 
Administrator of the EPA.
  It might get a lot worse. You might find out that it is a lot worse 
on Tuesday of next week because, for some reason, Scott Pruitt has been 
hiding email correspondence between his office and these energy 
companies. He has put up roadblock after roadblock to try to stop 
freedom of information requests to get these emails, this 
correspondence.
  Finally, yesterday, a judge ruled that you cannot stop that 
information from coming out--they are public documents--and on Tuesday 
of next week, they are going to be made public. I don't know what they 
were going to say, but as I suspect with Donald Trump's tax returns, 
when you are expending great effort to hide something from the American 
public, there is probably a reason you are hiding those things. There 
is something incredibly damaging, embarrassing, or illegal in those tax 
returns, and there is, probably, something very damaging, embarrassing, 
or illegal in those emails.
  So we are rushing through a nomination of Scott Pruitt tomorrow, 
which will not allow us to see this email correspondence that is going 
to come out next week. That is a shame because it, likely, will show us 
how close that connection has been between the next Administrator of 
the EPA and the energy companies that he has been regulating and will 
be charged to regulate.
  I get really concerned about Scott Pruitt when I think about the kids 
in my State. I will tell you about one very specific way in which I 
think about it, and then I will talk a little bit more broadly.
  We have talked a lot about lead, mostly in the context of this 
tragedy that has played out in Flint, MI, but, in Connecticut, the 
tragedy of lead poisoning plays out every single day. Why? Because we 
have really old housing stock; we have old infrastructure; we have lead 
that is in paint; we have lead that is in pipes; we have lead that is 
in fixtures that exist in old homes.
  While our State has been just plugging along, trying to do better to 
remediate these old homes and clean up lead and test kids earlier, lead 
poisoning has been a reality for us in Connecticut for a very, very 
long time. Boy, there are a lot of awful things that can happen to you 
as a kid in this country, but lead poisoning is at the top of the list. 
Watching a family go through the horror of serious lead poisoning is 
nothing that you want to witness because, once lead gets into your 
system--once it gets trapped inside your brain--it is impossible to 
reverse.
  In his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt was asked whether there was 
any safe level of lead in drinking water. If you are going to be the 
Administrator of the EPA, you should probably know the answer to that 
question. The answer is, no, there is no safe level of lead in drinking 
water. Given all of the tumult and attention over what happened in 
Flint, you would think that would be something he would be prepared 
for. His response was: ``That's something I have not reviewed nor know 
about.''
  Lead is a neurotoxin that can have devastating, long-term effects on 
the lives of children. The correct answer, of course, is that there is 
no level of lead that is safe in drinking water.
  I don't want to be too tough on him because I don't expect somebody 
who hasn't spent his lifetime in the field to know every answer about 
environmental standards, but this one was a pretty important one. For 
those of us who do think he is, ultimately, going to do the bidding of 
industry rather than the bidding of kids, not having an awareness about 
something as simple as acceptable lead levels in water makes us wonder 
whether he is really prepared to do his homework because on the other 
side of the lead fight are special interests. This is one that has 
special interests too. Whether it be the home builders or other folks 
who might have to pay a little bit of money out of their pockets to fix 
up old homes, there are people who are not always with us on this.
  More broadly, I worry about my kids. My kids are not going to suffer 
from lead poisoning, but if we don't get serious about the pace of 
climate change now--in the next 5 to 10 years--the problem may not be 
available to solve for my kids. It may be too late, once they become of 
age, to try to do something about it as a public servant, as a 
scientist, as an activist. Any scientist can explain the reason for 
that.
  The reason is that, for many greenhouse pollutants--carbon dioxide, 
in particular--as they get released into the atmosphere, they stay, and 
they continue to warm--heat up--as time goes on. There are some 
pollutants that don't act that way. There are these things called fast-
acting climate pollutants, like methane, frankly, that are released 
into the atmosphere, that are powerful heaters for a short period of 
time, but then they dissipate. Carbon dioxide is different. That one 
sticks around forever and ever--a long, long time--and continues to 
heat and continues to heat and continues to heat. So, if you don't 
reverse the trajectory of the human contribution to climate change 
soon, it may be too late.
  As folks have read, just in the last 60 days, that phenomenon is 
playing out in parts of the globe that are already at a pace that was 
unimaginable just 5 years ago. In the Arctic, we are seeing just 
unthinkable warming.
  I don't make policy by anecdote, but about a year ago, I was in the 
Arctic. I was on a submarine, doing an exploration under the ice--a 
truly amazing thing to be a part of. I was on the USS Hartford, which 
was a ship that was made in Connecticut, and the port is in 
Connecticut. We were up there as part of an exercise called ICEX, which 
was an exercise to try to understand what is happening in the Arctic so 
as to try to understand what the implications are for humans of this 
massive melting of arctic ice.
  There were supposed to be two weekends of exercises in which there 
was a camp on a very stable piece of ice. Experiments were happening at 
the camp, and a submarine was helping to engage in those experiments. 
We were part of the first weekend's exercise. Then, the next weekend, 
another group of Congressmen was going up to witness that second 
weekend's exercise. The second group of Congressmen did not make it. 
They were literally on a van to the plane when they were told there was 
an emergency evacuation of the camp because the ice was melting 
underneath the camp. This was a spot that was picked because of how 
stable they thought it was. In the short period of time in which the 
camp had existed on the ice that March, it had started to break up and 
melt underneath them, and they had to engage in an emergency 
evacuation.
  That is just one story. I understand we don't legislate or regulate 
by anecdote, but when you piece it together with all of the other 
evidence that tells you that every single year is the warmest on 
record, that shows you this massive trend line of melting in the 
Arctic. Even scientists who were of that 1 percent, who were sort of 
judged or deemed to be climate skeptics, are now

[[Page S1353]]

saying: Whoa, there is clearly something nonnatural happening in the 
Arctic, resulting in this massive melt that happens season after 
season.
  If that melt that is being mirrored in Antarctica continues at this 
pace, it will be too late for my kids to do something about it. In my 
State of Connecticut, a coastal State--a State in which the majority of 
our economic assets are buffered right up against the water of the Long 
Island Sound--we cannot survive in a world in which sea level rise 
doubles compared to what it has been over the last 1,000 years.
  We cannot survive in a world in which, by the end of this century, 
the average temperatures will be 8 degrees higher than they are today. 
When I came to Congress in 2007, the worst case estimates were that, by 
the end of this century, the global temperature rise would be 6 to 8 
degrees beyond what it is today. Those are now mainstream estimates. It 
is not politicians, and it is not activists. Those are scientists--
mainstream scientists--who are making those estimates. Yet, we are 
going to put somebody into the EPA who proudly has been a mouthpiece 
for the idea that climate change is a hoax--a hoax.

  There is this tiny group of scientists who say: Well, it is not 
really clear whether human activity is leading to climate change. There 
is a tiny group of scientists who say that. Ninety percent of 
scientists agree that humans are contributing to climate change.
  But Scott Pruitt goes further than that. Scott Pruitt has said that 
climate change--he has said it over and over again--that climate change 
is a hoax. What does that mean? Does that mean it is an intentional 
campaign by people to try to fool people into believing that climate 
change is happening? That is an extreme position. I don't even know how 
you explain what the genesis of the hoax is. What benefit do people get 
from trying to create this fiction? And of all the people out there who 
could possibly be the EPA Administrator, President Trump chose someone 
who calls climate change a hoax.
  He had a confirmation conversion. He backtracked on that and said 
something before the committee about not being completely sure about 
the human contribution to climate change, but acknowledging that it 
probably exists. It is not the first confirmation conversion we have 
had. The Presiding Officer and I were at a very interesting hearing 
yesterday in which the nominee to be Ambassador to Israel essentially 
recanted everything he had ever said that was strong in tone about 
people he disagreed with on the position of U.S.-Israel relations.
  So Scott Pruitt has changed his rhetoric in order to get confirmed. 
But he said that climate change is a hoax enough times to understand 
that likely, in his gut, that is what he still believes. It was a 
convenient position to have if you were an attorney general concerned 
with doing the bidding of big energy companies and special interests, 
which fed into their narrative as well.
  These are exceptional times. I am sorry that we are back on the floor 
overnight again. But we are deeply concerned that this special interest 
Cabinet--this billionaire Cabinet--is not being put in place to do 
right for the American people. It is being put in place to do right for 
big corporations that don't need any more allies here in Washington. 
For all the rhetoric about upsetting the way things are done in 
Washington, President Trump is doubling down on special interest 
influence by handing them the keys to the Secretary's offices and major 
Departments, now including the Environmental Protection Agency.
  That was not a President at that press conference yesterday. That was 
hard to watch, I imagine for both Democrats and Republicans. It was not 
a higher calling to public service for anybody in this country. Maybe 
there was 20 percent of the President's base that the press conference 
played to, but that was not an advertisement for America.
  These are exceptional times, and they do command those of us who are 
worried about the direction of this country to use all the power we 
have to try to get the facts out there and on the record.
  I was standing next to Senator Angus King at a press conference 
shortly after we were sworn in, talking about this issue of climate 
change and our responsibility as public servants to protect the quality 
of our air and the quality of our water. We were recalling how this 
wasn't as partisan an issue 40 years ago as it is today.
  The EPA was established under a Republican President. The Clean Water 
Act and the Clean Air Act had bipartisan support. There was a time in 
which Republicans were for environmental protection, and now we are 
nominating somebody to be the Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency who made his name fighting environmental protection, 
who made his name suing the Agency that was established by a Republican 
President, who has called the global climate change phenomenon, 
supported by 99 percent of scientists, a hoax.
  It is disturbing to many of us how deeply politicized this issue is 
because it used to be relatively nonpartisan. It used to be that for 
all of the things we disagreed on, we at least recognized that one of 
our responsibilities as stewards of this sphere that we live on is to 
make sure that it exists in the same shape that it is today for our 
kids.
  What Angus King said that day in that press conference, as always, 
stayed with me. Senator King said that in Maine they have the 
rototiller rule. If you borrow a rototiller or, frankly, any piece of 
equipment from your neighbor, you have an obligation when you are done 
with it to return that piece of equipment to your neighbor, or return 
that rototiller to your neighbor, in at least as good a condition as 
you found it. That makes sense. You borrowed the rototiller. If you 
break it you probably should fix it before you hand it back or you just 
use it in a way so that you are careful with it so that you don't break 
it, so that when you give it back to your neighbor, it is in that same 
condition. Senator King applied that standard to the standard that we 
should hold ourselves to when it comes to protecting this planet.
  My kids are going to inherit this planet. My grandkids, hopefully, 
will inherent it from them. Our charge should be to hand this planet to 
our kids in at least as good a shape as we found it. If we break it, if 
we damage it, we should fix it before we hand it over.
  We are breaking this planet right now. We are releasing so much 
pollution into the atmosphere to have compromised its integrity for the 
next generation. We have broken the rototiller, and the rototiller rule 
tells you that before you give it back to your neighbor, you should fix 
it. And we have it in our power to do it.
  When we damaged the ozone layer through the release of CFCs, we got 
together and fixed that problem. We engaged in a global conversation to 
regulate CFCs through something called the Montreal protocol. We were 
able to attack that problem, fix it at no significant cost to the 
economy, and show that if we really do care about the quality of this 
globe, there is nothing that is outside of our power. There is no 
choice to be made between observing the rototiller rule--protecting our 
planet--and growing our economy.
  But if Scott Pruitt becomes the next Administrator of EPA and the oil 
companies and the gas companies essentially get whatever they want, 
well, their bottom lines probably will be improved, shareholders in 
those companies will probably do a little bit better, but our kids' 
health, our larger economy's future will be compromised.
  So that is why we are here on the floor objecting to Mr. Pruitt's 
nomination. That is why we have asked for this nomination to be delayed 
until later next week so that we can see what is in these emails, where 
we already have some pretty concerning evidence of this deep connection 
between Mr. Pruitt and the companies he will regulate at EPA--a letter 
that they wrote for him that he sent under his name. What if there is 
more information like that in this correspondence?
  What if there is more evidence that he, as attorney general, was just 
a mouthpiece for industry rather than a mouthpiece for consumers? What 
if that is predictive of his behavior at EPA? I think that would be 
something that both Democrats and Republicans would be concerned with 
because I think I know my colleagues, and while my colleagues have 
certainly been more protective of industries' interests than Democrats 
have been, we both agree that the industry shouldn't have

[[Page S1354]]

an unnatural advantage in these agencies above the public interest. I 
am pretty sure we agree on that. And in just 4 short days, we will get 
a better understanding as to whether that is definitively the case for 
Scott Pruitt.
  So I would urge my colleagues to either delay this vote that is 
happening later today or to vote against the nomination.
  I appreciate, again, everyone who has been part of facilitating 
another very late night on the floor.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. HARRIS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. HARRIS. Mr. President, I come to the floor to convey my 
wholehearted opposition to the nomination of Scott Pruitt as 
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA.
  The EPA, at its core, is an Agency established to protect the 
environment and the public health of our Nation. This Agency looks to 
establish policies and guidelines that would benefit all Americans--and 
in essence is not an Agency of partisanship. In fact, the EPA was 
created through legislation led by a Republican President, Richard M. 
Nixon, and enacted by a bipartisan Congress in 1970.
  The EPA has a duty to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, 
and the environment we hope to pass on to future generations. In 
accomplishing this mission, it enforces some of our most valued laws 
like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, which have been in effect 
for more than 30 years.
  Unfortunately, this President asked the U.S. Senate to confirm a 
nominee who has dedicated his career to undermining the very Agency he 
is asked to lead. Mr. Pruitt's record and consistent failure to commit 
to being a fair Administrator of the EPA further demonstrates that the 
Trump administration's agenda is to weaken protections that guarantee 
every American access to clean air and clean water. From his actions as 
attorney general of Oklahoma up to his testimony at his hearing before 
the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is clear Mr. Pruitt is 
simply unqualified.
  I express my strong concerns, as a Senator from California, a global 
leader in environmental protections that allow our 39 million residents 
to live healthy lives. It is my hope that with similar smart Federal 
regulations, which are led by the EPA, our Nation can enjoy these same 
benefits that I have seen Californians experience firsthand.
  Californians have always been and will continue to be proud of our 
environmental leadership. In 1977, California passed the first energy 
efficiency standards in the country. Our friends from the States of 
Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York quickly followed 
suit. This set a precedent. Federal officials agreed that having 
responsible renewable energy guidelines should be a priority.
  Ten years later, the EPA implemented national standards across the 
United States, saving a tremendous amount of energy, sustaining our 
precious environment and resources for future generations, and 
providing financial benefits for families and households across the 
country.
  To put it into perspective, one of the national energy standards for 
refrigerators--that was the result of a policy initially enacted in 
California--has saved more than 130,000 megawatts of electricity to 
date. This is equivalent to the production of energy that roughly 250 
powerplants might produce. This example is not a rare occurrence. 
Energy policies have continued to be adopted from smart initiatives 
started in various States.
  Starting as early as 1978, California passed an energy efficiency 
standard for newly constructed buildings. This standard is now adopted 
not only in our Nation but worldwide. The State legislature listened to 
the objective and factual data from scientists on the dangers of 
climate change and, as a result, passed the California Global Warming 
Solutions Act of 2006, which requires California to reduce its total 
greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. We created the California Cap-and-
Trade Program, which implemented an innovative, market-based system to 
allow companies to continue to produce while also helping to reduce 
emissions; instituted a low-carbon fuel standard, which reduced the 
carbon intensity of all transportation fuels in California. We passed 
the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, which 
urged local transportation planning agencies to consider the statewide 
greenhouse reduction standards and goals in their long-term 
transportation plan, and we set a renewable portfolio standard, which 
implored retail sellers of electricity to provide 33 percent of their 
electricity from renewable resources by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.
  We are proud indeed of what we have accomplished in California, but 
the importance of this issue goes beyond just the environment. It is an 
economic issue, and it has been undeniable in helping California grow 
to be the sixth largest economy in the world. California shows that a 
healthy environment and a healthy economy and the choice between the 
two is a false choice. We can have both. From 1990 to 2014, 
California's population and economy grew while achieving a 36-percent 
drop in emissions per gross domestic product. This clearly demonstrates 
that you can successfully have economic growth and reduce carbon 
intensity. The State has done a great job of creating employment 
through the promotion of clean energy technology and green economies. A 
report by the University of California Labor Center found that 
the California renewable portfolio standards contributed to the 
creation of 25,500 hours for what was referred to as ``blue-collar'' 
job opportunities and 7,200 hours of what was referred to as ``white-
collar'' jobs.

  Most importantly, the environmental laws that the EPA enforces 
protects the health of future generations. Science has shown that 
children living in communities with a higher concentration of 
particulate matter developed respiratory difficulties and those 
children living in regions with higher ozone levels were more likely to 
develop asthma and miss school.
  This is only a small part of the impact that ignoring the protections 
of our environment can cause to the ones we love most. On that point, 
of children missing school because of health concerns, there is a 
significance to this because of a connection between what we need to do 
to educate our population and also what we see in the criminal justice 
system.
  For example, it is well known and established the significance of a 
third grade reading level. By the end of the third grade, if the child 
is not at the third grade reading level, they literally drop off 
because, when we think about it, we know before third grade a child is 
learning how to read, and then comprehension kicks in, and they are 
reading to learn. If they have not learned how to read, they cannot 
read to learn and they drop off.
  What is the connection between that and the concern we have about 
pollution in the air and water? Well, there is a connection between 
pollution in the air and asthma rates. Asthma causes children to miss 
school. What we know is that we have seen that an elementary school 
truant is three to four times more likely to be a high school dropout; 
82 percent of the prisoners in the United States are high school 
dropouts; African-American men between the ages of 30 and 34, if he is 
a high school dropout, is two-thirds likely to be in jail, have been in 
jail, or dead. There is a real connection between elementary school 
truancy and what we see in public safety systems. What we also know is 
that it costs money when children miss school. It costs us money in 
terms of the money that schools miss out on because they are not being 
reimbursed for attendance every day. All of these issues are connected.
  As a former attorney general, I have worked to enforce California's 
cutting-edge environmental laws. This is what an attorney general 
should do and is obligated to do as a representative of her State. 
Without reservation, I can say I am proud of the work of my office--of 
my former office, the California Department of Justice, and the work 
that is happening and has happened throughout the years doing the right 
thing for the people of the State and for the environment.

[[Page S1355]]

  In February of 2011, I filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit 
Court to support the efforts of the Port of Los Angeles to reduce air 
pollution through its Clean Trucks Program. In 2011, I had the pleasure 
of being a voice to protect an area of Southern California known as 
Mira Loma Village, a town of hard-working people, by representing them 
in a lawsuit to assure that a project would not significantly 
deteriorate the air quality in their community.
  I had been hearing stories of the grandmothers in that community for 
years asking that they would be heard. I had been hearing for years, 
before I visited Mira Loma, about the fact that studies showed the 
children of that community had the lowest rate of lung development of 
any region in that part of California. There was a serious concern 
about the pollution in the air and the children of that community and 
their ability to be healthy.
  So this is what we did and what I was able to do as the attorney 
general of the State that year. We met them with the developers in that 
community, we sat down, and we had some tough discussions, but we 
agreed that there had to be mitigation. They had to reduce the 
emissions in that community that resulted in the public health problems 
for that community. Two years later, that resulted in the city and the 
developer moving forward with the project while implementing measures 
to protect the residents from being exposed to diesel contamination. 
Litigation was critical. The role of the attorney general to be able to 
intervene and be a voice for that community and so many voiceless and 
vulnerable people was critical.
  In June of 2014, as attorney general of California, I publicly 
opposed the lack of environmental review for the expansion of a Chevron 
refinery project in a place called Richmond, CA, and demanded they 
consider the public health of the nearby residents.
  These are examples of the role and responsibility of a State attorney 
general to take seriously their oath in terms of protecting the health 
and welfare of the residents of their State. I offer these examples to 
further support the concerns we have that this nominee--when he has 
held such an important position and has taken an oath to represent the 
people--has failed to perform his duties. I would suggest that his past 
is prologue for the future. His past is an indication of what he will 
do if he is confirmed as the next head of the EPA.
  I would hope that instead we would have a nominee--someone who would 
head these most important agencies in our government--who could say the 
same thing about their record as I am proud to say about the record of 
the California Department of Justice.
  In my opinion, our current nominee cannot in good conscience speak to 
the same type of record. Instead, Mr. Pruitt has talked about how he 
wants to protect States from what he believes is ``overreach'' of the 
Federal Government. His commitment to what he would call States' rights 
is so strident that a December 6, 2014, New York Times article reported 
that Mr. Pruitt has a painting in his office ``that shows local 
authorities with rifles at the ready confronting outsiders during the 
land rush era.'' He also established what he described and named as a 
Federalism Unit in the Oklahoma attorney general's office that was 
committed to fighting against Federal regulations. When he came before 
the Environment and Public Works Committee for his confirmation 
hearing, of which I am a Member, Mr. Pruitt stated that ``it is our 
state regulators who oftentimes best understand the local needs and 
uniqueness of our environmental challenges.'' He then went on to speak 
about how States ``possess the resources and the uniqueness of our 
environmental challenges.''
  These statements might lead one to believe that Mr. Pruitt would be 
in support of any opportunity possible to give power back to the States 
to create environmental regulations. However, when I asked Mr. Pruitt 
at the committee, when he came before us, if he would commit then to 
upholding California's right to set its own vehicle emission standards, 
he would not commit to doing so.
  I will remind this body that the EPA has a long tradition of 
respecting California's and other States' ability to set higher 
standards where they can control the emissions and the greenhouse gas 
emissions that as we have mentioned before, directly have an impact on 
the health and well-being of the residents of our State and 
particularly the children and the elderly of our States.
  Under the Clean Air Act, California has set its own standards for how 
it wants to regulate vehicle emissions. We have done this for decades 
now, and previous EPA Administrators have upheld California's right to 
set them.
  Although there is precedence for doing so, Mr. Pruitt would not 
commit to granting California the waiver to allow my State to continue 
to set its own vehicle emissions standards. This is simply 
unacceptable.
  This is a blatant double standard for someone who claims to be 
committed to breaking down regulations at the Federal level and giving 
power back to the States. In fact, it makes me wonder how truly 
committed Mr. Pruitt is to States' rights or if States' rights are just 
a convenient argument for him in order to pursue actions that are 
beneficial to industries that pollute instead of the residents and the 
people of his State and, by extension, our country.
  Just look at his record as attorney general of Oklahoma, a position 
he used to challenge the laws of other States. As attorney general, he 
challenged a California law when he joined a lawsuit that targeted a 
referendum that California's voters approved in 2008 to require more 
space in cages for egg-laying hens. That measure, California 
proposition 2, prohibited the confinement of hens used to produce eggs 
in California in any manner that does not allow them to turn around 
freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs. The law is 
popular, and it was passed by the voters in my State by 63.5 percent. 
In 2010, the California Legislature expanded that law to make it so 
that it applied to all eggs sold in California.
  Mr. Pruitt joined a lawsuit suing California over this law, 
presumably because he did not like that a regulation approved by our 
voters and affirmed by our State legislature would do a good job. He 
just didn't like it. Mr. Pruitt's case was ultimately rejected by the 
Federal appellate court because his lawsuit failed to demonstrate how 
the California law presented a harm to his State. You would think that 
a States' rights proponent would appreciate that one State passes a law 
and it should be respected, especially when it doesn't create any harm 
to his own State, but that was not the case.
  Mr. Pruitt has filed seven lawsuits against the EPA that have since 
been settled. In those lawsuits, he opposed the Clean Power Plan and 
the Clean Water Act. He sued over regulations to make electricity-
generating powerplants install technology to curb air pollution. He 
sued over a plan to reduce pollution from coal-fired powerplants and a 
regulation aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. He sued and filed a 
lawsuit that claimed that the EPA encourages environmental nonprofits 
to bring lawsuits.
  It is important to know that Mr. Pruitt lost six out of those seven 
lawsuits. Mr. Pruitt is a baseball fan, as am I. I love my Giants. I 
find it hard to believe that my San Francisco Giants would look at a 
hitter who slogged through spring training with a .142 batting average 
and have no concerns whatsoever calling him up to the big league 
roster. Why does the U.S. Senate have a lower standard for reviewing a 
nominee who would be charged with safeguarding human health and our 
environment?
  What about the opportunities Mr. Pruitt has had to defend the 
interests of the people he was elected to represent? What about issues 
that directly impact the people of Oklahoma?
  In 2011, 49 States signed on to a $25 billion mortgage settlement. 
There was only one State's attorney general who decided not to sign on. 
I think you know where I am heading. That one attorney general was 
Scott Pruitt. Mr. Pruitt said he didn't think it was the appropriate 
role of the State attorney general to advocate for the homeowners of 
their States but wanted to be sure to protect the banks instead.
  As a former State's attorney general, I am here to say that the role 
of an attorney general is to represent the people of your State. When 
an injustice is committed to one person, an injustice is committed to 
all of the residents of

[[Page S1356]]

your State. In fact, after doing the work of an attorney general over 
the course of 7 years in California, I will tell you that every time we 
filed a suit, that document, that complaint never read the name of the 
victim versus the name of the offender. It always read the people 
versus the offender because in our system of democracy and in our 
system of justice as a country, we have rightly said that a harm 
against any one of us is a harm against all of us. Mr. Pruitt has 
failed to appreciate the significance of that point.
  He has developed a long list of lawsuits filed. Through all of that 
litigation, he has delivered very little for the people of Oklahoma--
the very people who elected him to represent them. Why should we expect 
that he will protect the interests of all Americans and the environment 
we all share?
  During his 6-year tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott 
Pruitt stated only in one instance--a lawsuit against Mahard Egg Farm--
could he recall initiating an independent lawsuit as attorney general 
against private air polluters. It was later revealed that even this 
claim was misleading, and it turned out it was his predecessor who had 
done the legwork and initiated the proceedings, along with the 
assistance of the EPA.
  In the 2014 New York Times article, it was reported that Mr. Pruitt 
used his official position as Oklahoma attorney general to protect the 
interests of a private gas and petroleum company, Devon Energy, not the 
people of Oklahoma. Using his official government position, Mr. Pruitt 
sent a three-page letter to the EPA stating that Devon Energy did not 
cause as much air pollution as was calculated by Federal regulators.
  In open records of exchanged emails between Devon Energy and the 
Oklahoma attorney general's office, it was discovered that the lawyers 
at Devon Energy were the ones who actually drafted the letter and that 
Mr. Pruitt used a nearly identical letter to express it as his State's 
position. Following the letter, Devon Energy wrote to his office:

       Outstanding! The timing of this letter is great given our 
     meeting with both the EPA and the White House.

  ``Outstanding,'' the energy company said--not the people of the State 
of Oklahoma.
  It is also unclear how far this abuse of power has gone. A lawsuit by 
the Center for Media and Democracy has been filed in an Oklahoma 
district court to release information on Mr. Pruitt's dealings as 
attorney general. It is with great concern that we would try to rush 
this nomination without these records coming to light. Senators should 
have all the facts before us before we vote.
  Should Mr. Pruitt be confirmed as EPA Administrator, I am deeply 
concerned that he has refused to use his discretion to recuse himself 
from litigation he was involved with in his role as Oklahoma attorney 
general unless required to do so by the Ethics Commission.
  I asked him about this during our hearing at the Environment and 
Public Works Committee. I asked him if he would be willing to recuse 
himself notwithstanding a finding by the Ethics Commission but based on 
what is right and an appearance of conflict. He agreed, after many 
questions, that he has the discretion--regardless of action, regardless 
of waiting until the Ethics Commission rules--to recuse himself from 
those lawsuits that he as attorney general of Oklahoma brought against 
the Agency he wants to lead. He agreed he had the discretion and yet 
failed to agree that he would exercise that discretion and recuse 
himself because of an appearance of a conflict. That is simply 
unacceptable.
  It is so important that in our government, the public has confidence 
in us, that they trust we will do the right thing, that they trust we 
will use our discretion in an appropriate way. But this is a nominee 
who has asked us to trust him to lead the EPA, the people's Agency that 
has been charged with protecting the resources that are vital for all 
human life. A nominee who has failed to represent his own constituents' 
interests by making a career of partisanship is not the right nominee 
for this office, period. He is a nominee who has lobbied for 
corporations instead of the people he was charged with representing. He 
is a nominee who has a clear record of using his position in a way that 
has not been in the best interest of the people he serves.
  There is evidence, unfortunately, of his record that is before us as 
a body. We should take heed of this evidence. We should pay attention 
to it, and we should not confirm this nominee to be the next head of 
the EPA.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I lived in Palo Alto Park, that part of 
the State. The Naval Air Station was there. It used to be called 
Moffett Field. It is still there. I remember the hangars that we used 
during the time we served on Active Duty.
  I had the privilege of knowing a number of attorneys general from 
California, and we are very pleased to be able to welcome Senator 
Harris to our floor. Yesterday she gave her maiden address on the 
Senate floor.
  Thank you.
  She is pretty good.
  I would say that you are even better than I thought. That was 
wonderful. Those were wonderful comments. I know our Presiding Offerer 
is also the chairman of our committee and probably is not enjoying your 
comments as much as I am, but I thought you were evenhanded and fair in 
sharing that.
  The Presiding Officer is a pretty good friend of mine, and I don't 
know if he is a big baseball fan. I am. I love sports. I am a huge 
Detroit Tigers fan. You are a Giants fan. The leadership in baseball is 
critically important. It is important to have good infielders, good 
outfielders, good pitchers, catchers, and so forth. What is really 
important is to have great leadership and great leadership in terms of 
the coaching staff. Leadership is always the most important ingredient 
in every organization I have ever been a part of.
  The Tigers just lost their owner, Mike Ilitch. He was a legendary 
figure in Detroit in baseball. He passed away earlier this week at the 
tender age of 86. It is a big loss for Motown and, frankly, for 
baseball.
  In terms of leadership, we wouldn't want to hire somebody to coach a 
baseball team who was a football coach or someone who is great with a 
basketball team. I don't doubt that Scott Pruitt a skillful lawyer. I 
met his family. I like him. I think he is arguably a good dad and a 
good husband. But it is a little bit like asking a pacifist to lead 
something like the Department of Defense--may be a skillful person but 
maybe just not the right person to do a particular job.
  I thought you outlined that very well. I wanted to say welcome to the 
big leagues. We are going to learn a lot from you.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak on the 
nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency, whom I intend to support.
  Over the past several weeks, we heard a number of Senators come to 
the floor hour after hour, 24-hour sessions through the night--1 
o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock--in the morning and beyond, to 
complain about this nominee or that nominee, to express their concern 
about this nominee or that nominee. In fact, many times I think the 
only reason there is opposition to a nominee is that they disagree with 
a nominee because it wasn't Hillary Clinton who made the nomination.
  We have heard countless people come to the floor today to talk about 
their opposition to the Trump administration EPA. I have a picture on 
the floor that shows the Obama EPA. This is a river in Colorado, 
enjoyed by thousands of people each and every summer. This is a picture 
of that same river under the Obama EPA. This was caused by 800,000 
pounds of mineral and other waste going into the river because of a 
mishandled EPA project. This wasn't Scott Pruitt. This wasn't Donald 
Trump. This was the Obama EPA that did this. I only wish that my 
colleagues who have come to the floor for the past several hours had 
shown similar outrage when the Obama EPA did this to Colorado--
inflicted this kind of damage on people in Southwestern Colorado in the 
Gold King

[[Page S1357]]

Mine spill. You want to talk about protecting States? Why didn't we 
stand up and protect this river?

  On August 5, 2015, the EPA caused this spill. They admit they caused 
this spill, dumping 3 million gallons of toxic waste into Cement Creek 
and into the Animas River. Most Americans remember seeing this river. 
Most Americans remember seeing pictures of what this river looked like 
across newspapers, across television stations in August of 2015. When I 
visited South Korea, the President of South Korea asked me: How is the 
river in Colorado that the EPA dumped toxic sludge into?
  In fact, I saw this picture on the news just a couple of days ago. 
Somebody was using it to complain about the Trump EPA administration. 
Somebody was using it to attack Scott Pruitt. This picture had nothing 
to do with Scott Pruitt. This was the EPA led by Gina McCarthy. My 
response to the spill was that the EPA should be held accountable to 
the same level at which the EPA holds private businesses accountable. I 
think that is a pretty good standard. But if the EPA is going to make 
sure that somebody lives up to a standard, then the EPA should live up 
to the same standard--that basic standard for the EPA, because the 
Agency caused this spill, and it simply must apply the same 
requirements to itself that it does to a private company.
  So it was with great disappointment, but very little surprise, that, 
when the EPA decided to not subject itself to those same standards, 
they walked away from the promises they made. Sure, the EPA had 
standards under Barack Obama. They were double standards. The Obama 
administration EPA's refusal to not receive and process the personal 
injury or economic loss claims arising out of this spill of the Gold 
King Mine in Southwest Colorado is appalling. I simply wish the outrage 
was there when the EPA walked away from the people that it had injured 
in Colorado. We haven't heard talk about it here.
  We have heard a lot of complaints here, but nobody is saying they 
should be paying for the damage in Colorado they created. After all, we 
are discussing the EPA, which with the strike of a pen, and oftentimes 
with very little input from those people who would be affected, uses 
overly burdensome regulations and a heavyhanded enforcement to punish 
private businesses.
  Despite the assurances and promises of the then-EPA Administrator 
Gina McCarthy that the Agency takes full responsibility of the Gold 
King Mine spill, the Agency in 2017--weeks ago--turned its back on the 
promises it made and denied paying claims for the harm they caused 
Coloradans. Promises were broken to our neighbors downstream in New 
Mexico and Utah, including the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Ute 
Mountain Ute Tribe, and the Navajo Nation.
  Administrator McCarthy called me last month, just before the news 
broke that the EPA would not be processing the claims of dozens of 
individuals and businesses in Southwest Colorado under the Federal Tort 
Claims Act against the Federal Government. The spill occurred in August 
2015. Over a year later, and in the waning days of the Obama 
administration, they turned their backs on their promises they made to 
Colorado and notified us in the waning hours of an administration 
saying: I am sorry. We are not going to help the individuals who are 
harmed. This refusal to compensate for the spill is unacceptable and 
wholly inconsistent with the EPA's commitment to take full 
responsibility with the States, local and tribal governments and 
communities.
  This past election, voters said they wanted something different from 
the last 8 years in Washington because what they experienced was not 
working for the people--broken promise after broken promise. A year and 
a half ago, the EPA caused the Gold King Mine spill, and the past 
administration refused to make it right for Colorado. The status quo at 
the EPA is not acceptable because broken promises are the status quo.
  I have had earnest conversations with Mr. Pruitt over the past 
several weeks about my sincere disappointment about those broken 
promises, what we had to go through in Colorado, and what businesses 
had to go through in Colorado as a result of the EPA spill.
  You can imagine that in an area that is reliant on tourism, what 
photographs of this in headlines across the country and in nightly news 
stories can do to a tourism-based economy. Those kayakers we saw in 
this chart had to shut the river down. Outfitters weren't allowed to be 
on the river. Dollars were lost because guides couldn't get out there. 
Booked trips that had already been paid for had been canceled. People 
didn't go because of the EPA's spill. The EPA's refusal to pay for lost 
property, lost economic opportunity, and lost business opportunity is 
simply unacceptable.
  In the earnest conversations I have had with Scott Pruitt, he has 
promised to make it right. He has promised to stand up for the people 
in Colorado. He has promised that he will make amends and pay for the 
damages that the Obama administration refused to pay for. He assured me 
that he is going to make it right, that he is going to work with the 
people the EPA injured and those who experienced economic losses and 
make sure that they are fully compensated. He agreed to come to 
Colorado shortly after his confirmation to make sure that the people of 
Colorado know that he will fulfill the promises that were failed under 
the Obama administration.
  I would also like to talk about another top legislative priority of 
mine--passing Good Samaritan legislation. Good Samaritan legislation 
would allow Good Samaritans, like the mining industry, State agencies, 
local governments, nonprofits, and other groups the ability to clean up 
the environment and improve water quality conditions around abandoned 
mines. According to the Government Accountability Office, or the GAO, 
it is estimated that there are more than 160,000 abandoned hard-rock 
mines that exist across the United States, and at least 33,000 of these 
mines pose environmental or safety concerns.
  One of the immediate actions we can do in Congress to address this 
toxic waste and improve our environment is to pass Good Samaritan 
legislation. It has been decades that this Congress has tried. It has 
been decades that this Congress has failed. It is time to start 
succeeding and time to start cleaning up the environment.
  The last time the Environment and Public Works Committee was able to 
advance legislation on Good Samaritan was in 2006, from my 
predecessors, Senators Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar. Unfortunately, 
since 2006, this concept has been unsuccessful and caught in partisan 
politics.
  It is time to take steps forward for facilitating cleanup of the 
Nation's abandoned mines to prevent more spills like the Gold King 
Mine.
  I have secured the commitment from Scott Pruitt to work with me on 
this legislation at the EPA to get this done, to work with both sides 
of the aisle to accomplish something, so that we can prevent this from 
happening. I am not going to stop working until our constituents are 
made whole from the EPA-caused spill at the Gold King Mine. I am not 
going to stop working until we pass--and we have to continue working to 
pass--the Good Samaritan legislation.
  The 33,000 mines that pose a risk to the West is unacceptable. Our 
citizens, our pristine environment, our waterways, our children--this 
wasn't Scott Pruitt. This wasn't Donald Trump. This was an EPA under 
the previous administration, led by Gina McCarthy and President Obama, 
that walked away from the people of Colorado and the promises made. And 
it heartens me greatly to know, at least, that we have an 
administration that will move away from every promise abandoned to 
fulfilling the promises of protecting our environment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, before I make a statement on Scott Pruitt, 
to my colleague and friend from Colorado, I couldn't agree with you 
more. What happened in Colorado was an environmental tragedy, and we 
saw the photos. It is horrible. I don't know who is responsible for it, 
but it appears to be a government agency, and they should be held 
accountable. I will join you in that effort. I don't think there is any 
Member who wouldn't join you in saying there ought to be justice done 
here.

[[Page S1358]]

We shouldn't let them off the hook because they are EPA employees or 
employees of the Federal government.
  But I don't understand the leap in logic from that position to Scott 
Pruitt. Scott Pruitt is a man who, as attorney general of Oklahoma, has 
filed more than 14 lawsuits to restrict the authority of the EPA to 
clean up rivers.
  Mr. GARDNER. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. DURBIN. I am happy to yield for the purpose of a question.
  Mr. GARDNER. To the Senator from Illinois, the EPA admits they caused 
this spill. Does the Senator from Illinois realize that the EPA then 
failed to live up to that promise?
  Mr. DURBIN. I said to the Senator from Colorado that I will join you. 
If the EPA is responsible for this spill, then I will stand with you. 
Justice should be done.
  The point I am making to you is that this leap of logic then--to put 
Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA--is really taking away the power of 
this Agency to avoid that kind of environmental disaster.
  Mr. GARDNER. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. DURBIN. I will be glad to yield for a question.
  Mr. GARDNER. To the Senator from Illinois, the EPA stated that they 
caused this spill. Dozens upon dozens of individuals and businesses 
filed a claim against the EPA for damages caused by a spill that the 
EPA admits. Scott Pruitt has said that he will fulfill the promise of 
paying for those claims the Obama administration denied.
  Will the Senator agree that the EPA, under the last administration, 
failed to deliver on the promises made of paying these claims?
  Mr. DURBIN. I reclaim my time and just say this. I do not know the 
particulars. I understand that what you said is what I read, that it 
was the fault of some government employee--perhaps of the EPA. I don't 
dispute that fact. If that is the case, then we have a responsibility 
to your State to make it whole again. And whoever the EPA Administrator 
is should face that responsibility. I will join you in that effort.
  But to go from there to say Scott Pruitt is the man to head the EPA 
because he is going to acknowledge this one fact, is to ignore his 
record, to ignore his position on the environment.
  The Senator from Colorado, I know has to leave the floor, but I want 
to continue on this vein. Yesterday, the President of the United States 
decided to sign a resolution. He had a big gathering. He had Senator 
McConnell, the Republican leader and other Members of the Senate and 
the House. It was a big celebration. Representatives of mining 
companies, coal companies, even mine workers were there celebrating the 
repeal of an EPA rule. What was the repeal of that rule? The repeal of 
that rule related to what the mining companies could dump into rivers 
and streams from their mining operations. What was the fear? The debris 
in toxic waste that they would dump in the rivers would end up killing 
rivers, just like the river that the Senator from Colorado has given a 
speech on.
  I might add that he voted to repeal that rule. So now we have the 
President of the United States saying we are going to revitalize the 
mining economy by eliminating a rule that restricts mining companies 
from dumping debris and toxic waste into rivers and streams. Now, that 
doesn't follow.
  If you are dedicated to keeping our rivers and streams healthy and 
pure and reliable sources for safe drinking water, you don't do what 
President Trump did yesterday. You don't do what the Republicans in the 
Senate did just a few days ago and remove this rule. I struggled to 
understand.
  I see my friend from Delaware is here. The Senator and I have been in 
this business for a long time together. I won't say how many years.
  He knows, I know, and some others know, but most people would be 
surprised of the following: Which President of the United States 
created the Environmental Protection Agency? Richard Milhous Nixon, 
1970. A Republican President created this Agency which has become the 
bete noire for the Republicans--the most hated Federal agency, created 
by a Republican President.
  Why? Because at that moment in time, America was awakening to Rachel 
Carson's ``Silent Spring'' and to so many other factors, when we 
finally concluded there was something we were doing to the environment 
that was harmful, not just to the environment but to the Earth, which 
we hoped to leave our children.
  We joined together on a bipartisan basis--this is before I was in 
Congress--to create this Agency which Scott Pruitt seeks to lead. Now, 
what has happened? What has happened is there has been a role reversal 
here. The Republicans, who used to be part of environmental protection 
and safety, have now abandoned it.
  In fact, that is the drum they beat on most often, when they talk 
about overregulation, the Environmental Protection Agency. Yesterday, 
this President--28 days into his Presidency--could not wait to sign a 
rule that allows mining companies to dump toxic waste and debris into 
rivers and streams. You know the argument: It is just too expensive not 
to. If we are going to make a profit, if we are going to employ people, 
then you have to let us dump this into the rivers and streams.
  I don't buy it. The reason I don't buy it is that I can remember many 
years ago, the first time I went across my State of Illinois and took a 
look at abandoned mine lands. These were lands that were strip mined, 
which means they brought in bulldozers and really just found the coal 
deposits, not just that for below the surface of the land. They ripped 
out the coal and left the mess behind for future generations.
  It was horrible--a horrible environmental disaster. They walked away 
from them after they made the money. They went out of business and left 
that mess behind for the next generation or the one beyond it.
  I am all in favor of mining. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong 
with it at all. But responsible mining means that you are responsible 
when it comes to the environment. You just don't make your money and 
leave, you accept the responsibility to leave behind something that is 
as good as or better than the way you found it. It is known as 
stewardship. It is Biblical.
  This is kind of a moral responsibility which we accept on this Earth 
that we live on, to leave it better than we found it. The Environmental 
Protection Agency is there for that purpose.
  I would say to the Senator from Delaware, they did a survey in 
Chicago a few years ago. They asked the people of Chicago: What is the 
one thing unique and defining about that city? Overwhelmingly, the 
response was Lake Michigan, as it should be--this magnificent great 
lake which borders the city of Chicago.
  It is a source of so much fun and joy and aesthetic beauty. We look 
at it and thank the good Lord that we have the good fortune of living, 
as many of us do, part time, full time, right there on the banks of 
Lake Michigan.
  It was about 5 or 6 years ago that I heard a story about a ship on 
Lake Michigan. It was an auto ferry. It took passengers and automobiles 
across that beautiful great lake. It moved them from Wisconsin to 
Michigan. The name of the ship was the SS Badger. It had been around 
for decades. It was kind of an institution.
  Come the summer months when people would cross that lake to head over 
to Michigan or back over to Wisconsin, they would pile on and bring on 
their automobiles and families. It was a great excursion. But we came 
to learn that there was another side to the story. The SS Badger was 
the last coal-fired auto ferry on the Great Lakes. It burned coal to 
run the engine to move the ship across Lake Michigan.
  That, in and of itself, raises some interesting questions about 
pollution coming off the smokestack of the SS Badger. It turned out 
that wasn't the worst part. The worst part is that for decades, as the 
SS Badger trekked across Lake Michigan, it not only burned coal, it 
dumped the coal ash overboard while it was going across the lake.
  This potentially dangerous and toxic coal ash was being dumped into 
Lake Michigan day after day after day. The Environmental Protection 
Agency came in and gave us the facts. It turned out that the auto 
ferry, that one ship, was the dirtiest ship on the Great Lakes. It 
created more pollution, more damage to the Great Lakes and

[[Page S1359]]

its environment, than any other ship. Believe me, there are plenty of 
ships that traverse the Great Lakes. This was the filthiest, dirtiest 
ship.
  The EPA said to the SS Badger: We know you employ people. We know you 
perform an important function. But clean up your act. So what did the 
SS Badger do, in light of this EPA finding? Well, they fought them all 
the way. They came to Congress and asked that Congress designate the SS 
Badger as a historical monument. A historical monument? Well, it was an 
old ship. There is no doubt about it. But the notion that came from the 
Congressmen from Michigan and Wisconsin was, by designating it a 
historical monument, it would be exempt from environmental protection 
laws.
  So the dirtiest ship--the SS Badger--on the Great Lakes would somehow 
have historical status and continue to pollute Lake Michigan. I thought 
it was outrageous. A number of us joined in stopping that effort. 
Instead, we said to the EPA: You have given them years to clean it up. 
Now do something about it.
  Next thing, surprisingly, the owner of the SS Badger asked to meet 
with me in my office. I said sure. He came in and he said: Senator, we 
employ 100 people. We have been doing this for years. We cannot 
technologically clean up the SS Badger. It just can't be done. We would 
lose too much money.
  I said: I am sorry, but that is unacceptable. You cannot tell me that 
because of profitability you need to continue to create a bigger mess 
in the Great Lakes than any other ship on the Great Lakes.
  So he went back and lawyered up and decided he would fight the EPA. I 
stood with the EPA, the regional office out of Chicago. We had a battle 
on our hands. A rule was issued by the EPA.
  I hear so many Republicans come to the floor bemoaning rules and 
regulations. Let me join that chorus. Are there too many rules and regs 
in some areas? Yes. Are there some rules and regs which I could never 
explain or even try to defend? Certainly.
  But the rules and regulations of the EPA many times are critically 
important. In this case, that was exactly what we found. So the EPA 
issued a rule and regulation that said to the SS Badger: You have been 
given years to clean up, and you will not do it. So now the clock is 
ticking. There will come a moment when you will be subject to a 
substantial fine if you don't clean up your act.
  Do you know what happened because of this onerous EPA regulation? Do 
you know what happened to the SS Badger, whose owner said that it was 
technologically impossible for them to clean up this mess? They came up 
with the most basic, simple solution. You wonder why they waited so 
long. They now hold the coal ash on the SS Badger as they go back and 
forth across Lake Michigan. They remove it once they get to shore and 
put it into an environmentally acceptable waste disposal.
  This was an obvious answer for decades, but they would not do it. It 
took the Environmental Protection Agency to step up and threaten it 
with a rule and a fine. Now they are finally doing it.
  So I say to those who loathe government rules and regulations: This 
was a good one. For the health of the Great lakes, for God's gift to us 
of that beautiful body of water, we did the right thing and the EPA was 
there to do it.
  Yesterday, when President Trump signed this new resolution that 
repealed the rule, he was reversing what I just described to you. He 
was saying to mining companies across the United States: Be my guest. 
Dump toxic waste and debris in our rivers and streams.
  He did it in the name of job creation. We all want to create jobs, 
but if we are creating jobs at the expense of the health of rivers and 
lakes, if we are creating jobs at the expense of safe drinking water, 
that is a bargain I will not be part of.
  Many times I have had a conversation with my wife and friends. I 
guess it reflects the fact that we have been on this Earth a little 
longer than some. You wonder out loud. You say: Why in the world do we 
have more autism today than we once had? Why do we have more cancers 
than we once had? People have a lot of theories. Some of them are wild 
and unfounded. But many times people say: Could it possibly be the 
chemicals in our drinking water? I do not know.
  I am a liberal arts lawyer. Don't get me near a laboratory; I would 
not know what to do with it. But it is a legitimate question, whether 
there is some contamination in our drinking water, which has a public 
health impact. Someday we may discover that.
  Isn't it best for us to err on the side of keeping our drinking water 
as safe and clean as possible? I think so. I don't want to turn on the 
tap and drink the water and think that I am making myself sicker or 
more susceptible to a disease. I sure as heck don't want to do it for 
my kids and grandkids. What Agency is responsible for that? It turns 
out to be the Environmental Protection Agency. That is the Agency that 
Scott Pruitt seeks to head.
  He is a terrible choice. I am sorry to say that. I shook hands with 
him once. I don't know him very well. But when you look at what he has 
done--I think of a letter I received from Dale Bryson in Illinois. I 
don't know him personally. He wrote to me and he said:

       Having served under both Republican and Democratic 
     Presidents, we recognize each new administration's right to 
     pursue different policies or ask that Congress change the 
     laws that protect our environment. But EPA's administrator 
     must act in the public's interest and not simply advance the 
     agenda of any specific industry that EPA regulates.

  Mr. Bryson goes on to say:

       The agency is lucky to have had EPA administrators, 
     Republicans and Democrats, with the patience, skill and 
     commitment to public service that is needed to steer through 
     these challenges and deliver the clean and healthy 
     environment that Americans want at a price they are willing 
     to pay. We do not believe Scott Pruitt has demonstrated that 
     he has the qualities needed to lead the Environmental 
     Protection Agency.

  He was not the only one who wrote to me. I have heard from 
constituents who believe that sensible environmental regulation is 
critical for us to have a clean planet to live on and leave to our 
kids. Tim Hoellein, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, 
conducts research on water pollution in city environments. He wrote to 
me and said:

       I note our city, State and county have made some major 
     advances toward better infrastructure and policy for clean 
     water. However, we are still not meeting our obligations to 
     our neighbors and future generations by rising to the best 
     standards of water stewardship. Those gains are at eminent 
     risk with the appointment of Mr. Pruitt to the EPA.

  Finally, I want to read a letter from a Chicago resident, Ms. Maureen 
Keane. She wrote to me and she said:

       I love my country. I love our beautiful environment and my 
     family. We need a strong advocate for our land and people to 
     head the EPA. That person is not Scott Pruitt. Hundreds of 
     former employees of the EPA agree with me. That must mean 
     something. Pruitt has a record of doing everything he can to 
     shut down and dismantle the EPA. We need a strong advocate 
     who has the ability to create a balance between business and 
     our land and people resources, one who can create strong laws 
     for which businesses can agree on and adhere to while 
     protecting our most precious assets, people, wildlife, and 
     our land.

  She says:

       As someone who grew up surrounded by dirty water in the 
     Little Calumet River, next to a train yard, and surrounded by 
     onion fields with pesticides, I have seen first hand family 
     and neighbors die young from cancer. Please oppose Pruitt if 
     you love America and your family. This is a decision that can 
     be costly for future generations.

  These letters really are just a handful of those that I have received 
on the subject. Scott Pruitt has alarming conflicts of interest with 
the oil and gas industry.
  My friend and colleague, Senator Carper of Delaware, has taken on 
this nomination professionally and in the right way. He has helped us 
reach a point now where we have to say to our friends on the Republican 
side of the aisle: Be careful about the vote that you cast at 1 o'clock 
today, because by 1 o'clock on Tuesday or Wednesday, in the following 
week, you may regret that vote.
  The reason I say it is that Senator Carper has been working with 
groups trying to get a disclosure of the emails that Scott Pruitt, 
attorney general of Oklahoma, had during the course of serving as 
attorney general, while he was filing some 14 different lawsuits 
against the Environmental Protection Agency. He was caught red-handed 
taking a letter written by one of these energy companies and changing 
the letterhead and calling it an official statement from his own 
attorney general's office. So he clearly has a comfortable,

[[Page S1360]]

if not cozy, relationship with the energy companies. That, in and of 
itself, is not condemning or damning, but if it ends up that he is 
seeking this position to advocate their political position, rather than 
to protect America's environment, that is a relevant issue.

  Senator Carper has been working with groups night and day to get 
disclosure of emails that were sent to Scott Pruitt and sent by him 
between oil and gas companies and other energy companies to determine 
whether there are any conflicts we should know about before giving him 
this job.
  I understand that late this morning, our Senator from Oregon, Mr. 
Merkley, may be coming and asking for us to postpone this vote until 
these emails are publicly disclosed. Is it 5, 6, 10 emails? I think it 
is thousands, isn't it? Some 3,000 emails.
  The Republican Senators and Senator McConnell have said: We don't 
want to read them. We don't care what is in them. It doesn't make any 
difference if there is a conflict of interest. This is Scott Pruitt. He 
is our man. President Trump wanted him. We don't want to read the 
facts. We don't want to know the evidence. We just want to give a good, 
loyal vote to our President.
  I don't think that is the way we should meet our responsibilities in 
the Senate. This thoughtful and sensible thing to do is to postpone 
this vote until we return. We are going to be gone next week because of 
the President's recess. Scott Pruitt can wait 10 days, and we can wait 
for the truth, can't we?
  The Environmental Protection Agency will continue to do its business 
with its professionals, but before we put him in the job--which we may 
come to regret in just a few days--shouldn't we take the time to do 
this and do it thoughtfully?
  As Oklahoma attorney general, he sued the EPA 14 times. He was often 
partnering with the very industries he is now being called on to 
regulate. Though some of these lawsuits are still ongoing, he will not 
even commit to recuse himself.
  He was asked during the course of his hearing: As attorney general of 
Oklahoma, you sued the EPA. The EPA, as an Agency, has the first level 
of administrative hearing on those lawsuits. Will you, if you become 
Administrator and Secretary of the EPA, commit to recuse yourself from 
those lawsuits you filed?
  He said: No.
  That means he could have a very interesting position when those 
lawsuits come up for consideration. He will be the petitioner and the 
plaintiff; Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma. He will be the 
defendant; Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, 
Administrator, and Secretary. He will also be the jury; the 
Environmental Protection Agency, headed up by Scott Pruitt in his 
administrative capacity.
  What a sweetheart deal. I used to be a trial lawyer. This would be 
the answer to a prayer. I get to be the plaintiff and the defendant and 
the judge?
  Scott Pruitt wants to protect his right to do that so he can continue 
to protect the special interests he represented as attorney general of 
Oklahoma.
  Common sense suggests to any lawyer licensed to practice in America 
that this is a conflict of interest which needs to be avoided, but 
Scott Pruitt says: No, they have to go forward, and I have to win this 
lawsuit.
  You know what, I think he is going to win the lawsuit if he doesn't 
recuses himself.
  We need to ensure that the EPA has strong leadership, that it is 
dedicated not to energy companies, not to oil companies, not to gas 
companies but to protecting all Americans. Literally, lives depend on 
it.
  President Donald Trump has chosen not just a man with an 
extraordinary amount of conflicts of interest but a person who is a 
climate-denier. He said some things that are nothing short of amazing.
  Look at this quote by Scott Pruitt, candidate for Administrator of 
the EPA:

       The debate about climate change is just that, a debate. 
     There are scientists that agree, there are scientists that 
     don't agree, to the extent of man's contribution and whether 
     it is even harmful at this point.

  Really? So 98 percent of scientists--98 percent--have said that 
something is happening to this world, and human activity is the reason, 
98 percent of them. Greenhouse gas emissions, carbon in our atmosphere, 
obvious changes, glacial melts, the rising of the oceans, extreme 
weather conditions that we are facing--just a casual observer would 
understand that is a reality, but not this man, not the man who seeks 
to head the Environmental Protection Agency. To him, it is still being 
debated.
  He is in this rarified group with blinders. You see him here with his 
glasses. He wants to put on blinders when it comes to climate change. 
And this is the man President Trump has chosen to head up the 
Environmental Protection Agency?
  The Chicago Sun Times, on December 8, had an editorial entitled ``Foe 
of EPA is wrong person to lead it.'' Here is what they said:

       Unfortunately, President-elect Donald Trump has appointed 
     Scott Pruitt, an open foe of environmental initiatives, to 
     head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That 
     demonstrates a callous disregard for the health of our nation 
     and planet just as rapid technological advances hold out hope 
     for avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
       The U.S. Senate should reject Pruitt.

  They go on to say:

       During his campaign, Trump said he would dismantle 
     President Barack Obama's environmental policies and pull the 
     United States out of the 195-nation Paris accord to reduce 
     greenhouse gases and climate change. After the election, 
     Trump moderated his tone, saying he has an open mind about 
     climate change. His appointment of Pruitt, however, suggests 
     that if he's open to anything, it's strictly more pollution.

  They go on to say:

       The EPA is all about science. Someone who doesn't believe 
     in science can't do the job.

  His appointment would send a message to the rest of the world that 
the United States is not a partner in efforts to reduce emissions of 
greenhouse gases. The damage could be incalculable.
  If a house divided against itself could not stand, neither can a 
government agency.
  When you listen to what Scott Pruitt has said about science, you 
realize this man has no business heading up the Environmental 
Protection Agency.
  Listen to what he said in February 2012: The amount of human exposure 
to mercury from U.S. powerplants is small. ``Human exposure to 
methylmercury resulting from coal fired EGUs is exceedingly small.''
  Here is what the scientists say:

       As a result of these long-term mercury inputs [from coal-
     fired electric utilities], there are hotspots and whole 
     regions, such as the Adirondacks of New York, the Great Lakes 
     region of the Midwest and large portions of the Southeast 
     where the fishery is contaminated with mercury. . . . There 
     are more fish consumption advisories in the U.S. for mercury 
     than all other contaminants combined.

  The source of this scientific statement: Dr. Charles Driscoll from 
Syracuse University.
  Here is what Mr. Pruitt said about mercury and air toxic emissions 
from power plants: ``Finally, the record does not support EPA's 
findings that mercury, non-mercury HAP metals, and acid gas HAPs pose 
public health hazards.''
  Here is what the scientists say: ``There is no evidence demonstrating 
a `safe' level of mercury exposure.'' Source of that statement: Dr. 
Jerome Paulson from the Council on Environmental Health, American 
Academy of Pediatrics, before the Senate EPW Committee.
  Scott Pruitt isn't quite sure if mercury is really that dangerous. 
Scientists disagree.
  Mr. Pruitt, when talking about the benefits from cleaning up 
powerplant mercury emissions: The benefits of cleaning up powerplant 
mercury are ``too speculative,'' said Mr. Pruitt, and ``not supported 
by the scientific literature.'' Concluding, ``EPA cannot properly 
conclude that it is `appropriate and necessary' to regulate hazardous 
air pollutants under section 112.''
  That is a statement from Scott Pruitt's legal brief in Murray Energy 
Corporation v. EPA, November 2016.
  What do the scientists say about Mr. Pruitt's observations? ``U.S. 
efforts to reduce mercury emissions, including from power plants, are 
benefiting public health much faster than could have been predicted in 
1990.'' Source of that

[[Page S1361]]

statement: Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of Milken Institute School of Public 
Health, George Washington University, January of this year.
  Here is what Mr. Pruitt had to say about the debate over whether 
climate change is real:

       Global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates 
     of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists 
     continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global 
     warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That 
     debate should be encouraged--in classrooms, public forums, 
     and the halls of Congress.

  That quote is from an article in the National Review, May of 2016.
  What do scientists say about Mr. Pruitt's observation? ``The 
scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to 
justify taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the 
atmosphere.''
  That was a statement from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 
2005--12 years ago. Twelve years later, Scott Pruitt is still wrestling 
with whether this is a problem.
  How about Mr. Pruitt, when it comes to the extent of the human 
activity on climate change? He said:

       We've had ebb and flow, we've had obviously climate 
     conditions change throughout our history, and that is 
     scientific fact. It gets cooler. It gets hotter. And we do 
     not know the trajectory is on an unsustainable course. Nor do 
     we know, the extent by which the burning of fossil fuels, and 
     man's contribution to that, is making it far worse than it 
     is.

  That was a statement he made on the ``Exploring Energy'' radio 
program in May of 2016.
  What do the scientists say about that? ``The scientific evidence is 
clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring 
now, and it is a growing threat to society.'' Source: American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006--11 years ago.
  They said this unequivocally. Scott Pruitt still doesn't buy it.
  What did he say about climate change being a natural occurrence? I 
will quote him.

       Is it truly man-made and is this simply just another period 
     of time when the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat, I mean 
     is it just typical natural type of occurrences as opposed to 
     what the (Obama) Administration says?

  Again, this is from that radio program ``Exploring Energy.'' This was 
in October of 2016.
  What do the scientists say about Mr. Pruitt's observation?

       Human-induced climate change requires urgent action. 
     Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change 
     observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can 
     significantly lessen negative outcomes.

  The source: The American Geophysical Union; the date, 2003--14 years 
ago.
  Here is Scott Pruitt, this man who wants to head up our Environmental 
Protection Agency, still at war with scientific fact. What has he said 
about the debate over climate change? He said:

       The debate about climate change is just that, a debate. 
     There are scientists that agree, there are scientists that 
     don't agree, to the extent of man's contribution and whether 
     it is even harmful at this point.

  Again, this is from the ``Exploring Energy'' radio program show in 
May of 2016.
  What do the scientists have to say about that?

       It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the 
     dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past 
     half century is human-induced increases in the amount of 
     atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide 
     (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous 
     oxide.

  The source of that statement: The American Meteorological Society, 
2012--5 years ago.
  What Mr. Pruitt says about how reasonable minds can disagree on 
climate:

       How [climate change] is happening, if it is, clearly is 
     subject for reasonable minds to disagree. Whether man is 
     contributing to it or not.

  Again, this is from his ``Exploring Energy'' radio program, April 
2016. I am sorry I missed that one too.
  Here is what the scientists say in response:

       The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is 
     occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant 
     disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, 
     social systems, security and human health are likely to 
     occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning 
     now.

  The source of that scientific statement: The American Physical 
Society, 2007--10 years ago.
  Now we know what this man is all about. He denies science. He is an 
advocate for those special interest groups who make money off of 
pollution. He doesn't believe the Environmental Protection Agency 
should have the authority it has today. He has challenged it 14 times 
in court. He won't recuse himself from even the petitions he has 
personally filed as attorney general of Oklahoma, and he is anxious to 
be approved by the Senate before we get a chance next Tuesday or 
Wednesday to read 3,000 emails he received and sent as attorney general 
of Oklahoma, including emails between Mr. Pruitt and energy, gas, and 
oil companies.
  I think it is pretty clear what this is all about. This is an effort 
by special interests in America to put their best friend on the job at 
the Environmental Protection Agency. They want to make sure he is there 
to look the other way when we should be regulating to keep this planet 
we live on safe and in good shape for future generations. That makes it 
a clear choice for all of us. I am going to vote against Scott Pruitt.
  I am sorry, I say to Donald Trump. You have a right to have your 
point of view, but you don't have a right to put a man in this job who 
denies basic science that has been agreed upon for over a decade. You 
certainly don't have a right in this circumstance to put a man in 
charge of the EPA who is going to add to the climate change problem in 
our world, who is going to diminish the reputation in the United States 
on fighting this on an international basis, and who is going to kowtow 
to special interest groups, which has been shown over and over again 
when it comes to his service as the attorney general in the State of 
Oklahoma.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have 5 minutes to make a 
statement on a separate topic.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


        Investigation Into Russian Involvement In U.S. Election

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, yesterday the President of the United 
States had a long and eventful press conference--77 minutes--talking 
about the issues before us in this country and his administration. He 
referred to his administration as ``a fine tuned machine.'' That was 
his 28th day in office.
  I will observe the following: This so-called fine-tuned machine was 
forced to dismiss the Acting Attorney General of the United States in 
the first 3 weeks. This fine-tuned machine was reprimanded by three 
different Federal courts for an Executive order on immigration and 
refugees which they found to be inconsistent with the law and the 
Constitution of the United States. This so-called fine-tuned machine 
had to accept the resignation in the first 24 days of the National 
Security Advisor to the President of the United States. Mr. Trump is 
making history. No President has been through those experiences. None. 
I wouldn't say it is a fine-tuned machine; I would say it is a history-
making machine. And sadly this fine-tuned machine, as he calls it, has 
had some rough spots. That is not all.
  This issue about the Russian connection in President Trump's campaign 
is not going away. Seventeen different intelligence agencies have 
verified the fact that Vladimir Putin and the Russians expressly tried 
to invade on a cyber basis the United States of America and to 
influence the outcome of an election. And it wasn't an equal 
opportunity effort--they were there to elect Donald Trump and defeat 
Hillary Clinton.
  To make the record perfectly clear, as they say, there is no evidence 
that the Russians had any actual impact on the actual casting or 
counting of votes, but they did everything else they could dream of. 
They tried to invade and hack sources of files and information and to 
disclose and release them in a timely fashion.
  There was that horrible episode involving ``Entertainment Weekly,'' 
or whatever the name of that operation was, where they had a recording 
of then-candidate Donald Trump saying some awful things. It was no 
coincidence that 2 hours after that recording was released, they 
started releasing John Podesta's emails and files--the Russians did--to 
try to resurrect the Trump campaign that hit some pretty

[[Page S1362]]

rocky shoals. So we know that happened.
  We also know there was contact with General Flynn, the National 
Security Advisor to Donald Trump, prior to the President being sworn 
in. The extent of the contact, we don't know. The number of people in 
the Trump campaign who may or may not have had contact with the 
Russians, we don't know, but we do know this: The Federal Bureau of 
Investigation has an investigation underway into this very question 
because it raises some big issues.
  This is the first time we know in the history of the United States 
that a foreign power has tried to invade our electoral process. And it 
isn't just a benign invasion; this is one of our major enemies when it 
comes to national security, and the reason is obvious. Travel to the 
Baltics, travel to Poland, travel to Ukraine, and talk to them about 
Vladimir Putin. He isn't this great hero, as President Trump has 
characterized him, from their point of view; he is a threat to their 
existence. They know what happened when the Soviet Union had the power. 
It controlled the Baltics. It controlled Poland. It controlled Ukraine. 
They don't want to see that day return. They want the United States and 
NATO to stand up and help make sure they have a way to continue their 
democracy and continue making their own sovereign decisions. Meanwhile, 
our President of the United States, Donald Trump, is tossing political 
bouquets and sweet little kisses to Vladimir Putin and his Russian 
regime. Is this worth looking into? You bet it is.
  This week we made a leap of faith right here in the Senate. We have 
decided to give to the Intelligence Committee of the Senate the 
authority to move forward on this investigation. I reluctantly agreed 
to that approach. I am skeptical. I will tell you why I am skeptical. I 
served on the Intelligence Committee. It is a critically important 
committee, but the Intelligence Committee, 95 percent of the time, 
meets behind closed doors in a secret space without a sign on the door, 
and the proceedings of the Intelligence Committee necessarily are 
secret. This is not an issue that should be kept secret. We need to 
make sure the American public understands in an independent and 
transparent way exactly what happened when it came to the Russian 
involvement in America's election, who was involved in the Trump 
campaign, if anyone. We need names, and we need people to be held 
responsible.
  The second thing is, the Intelligence Committee--if and when it 
finally issues a report, that report is going to be classified to some 
extent. We have seen pages, I am sure, of redacted materials, big black 
lines and maybe one or two words emerging from a single page. Who 
decides to take away the black lines and tell the American people 
exactly what they found? The ultimate decision on declassifying 
documents in the Intelligence Committee is made by the White House.
  So here is the White House, President Trump and his people under 
investigation by the Intelligence Committee, and they have the last 
word about what the American people will see. Isn't it interesting--
when it came to the investigation of Benghazi with Hillary Clinton, 
when it came to the investigation of emails with Hillary Clinton, the 
Republicans couldn't wait to have week after week and month after month 
of public hearings. Now they want a secret hearing in the Senate 
Intelligence Committee and no hearing in the House Intelligence 
Committee. It is a big ``shrug your shoulders; boys will be boys'' 
moment for the Republicans in control of the Congress. It shouldn't be 
for the American people. The American people have a right to know what 
the Russians did, and they have a right to know if and when members of 
the Trump campaign or his close associates were engaged and involved in 
what he has dismissed as a ruse. Seventeen intelligence agencies don't 
dismiss it.
  We need an independent, transparent investigation of what happened. 
The American people have a right to know. And we ought to say to this 
President: You may conceal your income tax returns, unlike any other 
Presidential candidate in modern memory, but you cannot conceal from 
the American people the facts as to whether the Russians were 
attempting a cyber attack on the United States during the course of our 
last election. That is too critical a question to ignore.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Capito). The Senator from Maine.
  Mr. KING. Madam President, I rise today in one sense as a former 
Governor. In looking at nominations of Cabinet members by the 
Executive, I start with a position of deference to the Executive 
because I think he or she should be able to choose the people who 
surround them and give them advice. I understand that. I did that as a 
Governor, and I understand that principle. Indeed, in the proceedings 
before this body thus far, I think I voted for 7 or 8 or perhaps 10 of 
the nominees for Cabinet members who advise the President.
  But today we are considering a nominee who is hostile to the 
fundamental purpose of the Agency to which he is being appointed. We 
are appointing a person to be the head of an Agency that is called the 
Environmental Protection Agency. All you need to know about the mission 
of that Agency is contained in the name, the Environmental Protection 
Agency, and we are considering a nominee who has no record that I have 
been able to discover of protection of the environment. None. Zero. No 
history of actions on behalf of the environment, on behalf of the 
health and welfare and well-being of the citizens of his State or of 
the United States.
  It is bizarre, to me, to be appointing people to an office where they 
are hostile to the mission of the office to which they are being 
appointed. In fact, not only has he no record of positive environment 
activity, his record is completely to the contrary where he has opposed 
activities of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  As everybody knows, as attorney general of Oklahoma and leading other 
attorneys general around the country, he sued the Environmental 
Protection Agency numerous times; I think something like 20 times. And 
some of those rules--all of those rules were put into place to protect 
the health and well-being of the American people. There are several of 
them that I am particularly sensitive to.
  When I was the Governor of Maine, we had an issue of air quality. We 
still do. The reason we have an air quality issue in Maine is because 
of the air that is coming in on the prevailing westerly winds from the 
rest of the country. At one point, we had a time where we did the 
calculations, and we could have taken every car off our highways, 
closed every one of our factories, and we still would have had air 
quality violations on the coast of Maine. Pollution doesn't respect 
borders. It doesn't respect State borders, and it doesn't respect 
international borders. That is why it has to be a national 
responsibility.
  Of course, each State can also have, as we do in Maine, its own 
department of environmental quality, its own department of 
environmental protection. Each State could and should and will do that 
and has done that, but we also need to have national standards because 
otherwise the States will race to the bottom: How friendly are you to 
business? Come on in; we have no rules. This was realized almost 50 
years ago by a Senator from Maine, a Senator whose seat I occupy, a 
Senator whose desk I have in my office, Edmund Muskie. Edmund Muskie 
was the father of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and he 
came from a State where this was not politically easy. The rivers in 
Maine had been grossly polluted by industrial waste. Yet he took the 
lead on this important issue.
  Here is something extraordinary: The Clean Air Act, one of the most 
important environmental laws of the 20th century and very 
controversial, widespread impact around the country, passed this body 
unanimously. It is unbelievable looking back to that day. We couldn't 
pass the time of day unanimously in this body today, but there was 
bipartisan consensus that protecting the environment for ourselves and 
for the future of our citizens was not a political issue. It was an 
issue of responsibility. It was an ethical issue. And Ed Muskie, a 
giant in this body, created the groundwork and the legislative basis 
for the work we are still doing today.
  In Muskie's time, the pollution was obvious. You could see it, and 
you could breathe it. I live on the Androscoggin River in Brunswick, 
and when I first went there 35 years ago,

[[Page S1363]]

you could smell the river in the spring. You could smell it. You knew 
it was spring; you could smell the foam and waste that was coming down 
the river. That is gone today because of the work of people like Ed 
Muskie.
  By the way, people like Howard Baker, Republicans--and in our State 
of Maine, the environmental movement was led by Republicans in those 
days. Hoddy Hildreth, David Huber, Ken McCloud, Harry Richardson--those 
are all prominent Republican leaders in our State who also led the 
environmental protection movement in our State.
  As I said, it was easy. You could smell it; you could see it. The 
smog in Los Angeles was so bad that it was ridiculous, and it was 
unhealthful, so we took some steps that dealt with that.
  We are facing an environmental threat today that is somewhat less 
visible--although I will argue that it is actually quite visible--but 
it is no less profound. In fact, I believe it is more dangerous, more 
threatening, more important to the future of this planet and our 
country and our people than those obvious threats that were faced back 
in 1970 and beyond.
  Environmental protection, in my view, is a moral and an ethical 
issue; it is an intergenerational ethical issue; and it can all be 
summarized by what I call the main rototiller rule. The main rototiller 
rule goes like this: If you borrow your neighbor's rototiller in the 
spring in order to plow up your garden and get ready to plant, you have 
an obligation to return it to him in as good of shape as you got it and 
with a good tank of gas. That is all you need to know about 
environmental stewardship, because we have the planet on loan. We don't 
own it. We own it temporarily. We own plots of land temporarily, but we 
don't own the planet. We have it on loan from future generations--from 
our children and our grandchildren and seven generations hence. Yet our 
age, our generation, is acting like it is all ours, like everything is 
ours.
  It took millions of years, for example, to create the fossil fuels 
that are underneath the Earth. The word ``fossil'' has a meaning. They 
are there because they are from fossils. It goes back literally 
millions of years for the Earth to distill the plant and animal matter 
into this miraculous substance called oil--millions of years. Yet we 
are using it up. Forget about the pollution for a moment; just think 
about the idea that we are using an asset that the Earth produced over 
millions of years, and in a matter of--I don't know--200 to 300 years, 
we are going to use it all. It is as if on Thanksgiving the turkey 
comes to the table, all of the family is sitting around, and Dad says: 
OK, I am going to eat this whole turkey. You don't get any.
  What do we tell people when they look back on us in 20, 50, 100, 200 
years? What are they going to think of our generation? What is our 
defense going to be?
  We know it is not infinite. There is argument about how much is 
there, but it is not infinite. There is no machine in the center of the 
Earth that is creating these substances; therefore, we have a 
responsibility to future generations, as my friends in Maine would say, 
not to pig out on what we have and just forget about who comes next. Of 
course, as it becomes more rare, it will become more expensive, so we 
are passing those costs off as well. Beyond that is the environmental 
cost.
  I mentioned the obvious environmental problems back in the seventies 
and eighties of when you could see the air, when you could smell the 
rivers, but today the problem is what we are doing to the planet, which 
is climate.
  What bothers me about this nominee is he basically says: Well, it is 
a controversial issue. The sciences differ.
  No. The science is clear.
  Before I get to that, I have one more point about the ethical and 
moral responsibility.
  Last year, we had Pope Francis here. Pope Francis has talked a great 
deal about this issue and the ethical and moral and, indeed, religious 
obligation we have to be good stewards of our environment and of our 
planet. People criticized the Pope. They said: Let the Pope stick to 
religion and stay away from science.
  It turns out that the Pope is a chemist. That is an unfortunate fact.
  When the Pope was here, I did a little act of Jesus in the Good Book 
and found a number of references to the responsibility we have to 
protect the environment and the land. Indeed, in the Old Testament--and 
we all know about the Sabbath, that on the seventh day, He rested. 
There is a provision in the Old Testament whereby every 7 years the 
people were instructed to let the land lie fallow for a year--a Sabbath 
for the land in order to preserve its productivity.
  I believe this is fundamentally an ethical issue. What do we owe our 
children--to just forge ahead in the face of overwhelming science and 
all of the predictions? What is happening in the world around us is 
selfishness. It is unethical. It is wrong. It is unfair.
  As I said, we are talking about a nominee for this body who says the 
debate about climate change is just that--it is a debate.

       There are scientists that agree, and there are scientists 
     that don't agree to the extent of man's contribution and 
     whether it is even harmful at this point.

  Give me a break. The scientific community is virtually unanimous, 
and, indeed, the data is unanimous.
  I carry a little card around with me. This is a blowup of it. I am a 
visual person--I like to see things, and I understand them better. To 
me, this is what you need to know about what is going on.
  By the way, what this is, is CO2 in the atmosphere, parts 
per million, for 800,000 years. People say: Well, it has varied over 
time. It goes up and down. It is just a natural cycle.
  It does vary over time. Here is 850,000 years, and you can see that 
it varies from a low of about 180 parts per million up close to 300 
parts per million, and that is the variation. Absolutely true. That is 
the variation until you get to about 1860, and that is when it starts 
to go up. Now we are at 400 parts per million, which is 25 percent 
higher than it has been in 5 million years. Was it a coincidence that 
it started to happen when we started to burn fossil fuels in such vast 
quantities? Of course not. Was there a big outburst of volcanos in the 
mid-1800s? Of course not.
  This is not debatable. These are measurements. These are scientific 
measurements. Debating this is like debating that water boils at 212 
degrees: Oh, no. I think it boils at 214 degrees.
  No. It is 210.
  It is 212.
  Light travels at 186,000 miles a second. That is not debatable. 
Neither is this.
  We are in a very dangerous place. Scott Pruitt calls it an argument 
and doesn't want to do anything about it. Not only does he not want to 
do anything about it, he wants to undo the things that have been done 
to try to protect us.
  You can look at this chart and say CO2 is going up. It is 
invisible gas. You cannot taste it. You cannot smell it. It does not 
poison us. It is in the atmosphere anyway. Who cares? What difference 
does it make?
  Here is what difference it makes. This is the other side of my little 
card. This is the correlation of over 800,000 years between temperature 
and CO2. Of what you can see, the blue is the 
CO2, and the temperature is red, and what you see is an 
almost exact correlation. It is beyond coincidence. When CO2 
goes up, the temperature goes up. When CO2 goes down, the 
temperature goes down. You can see it over the time. Do you know where 
we are now in CO2? Here. The correlation is unmistakable, it 
is powerful, and it is dangerous.
  The nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency denies this. He 
says it is a debate. Just for a moment, let's take him at his word. 
Let's say it is a debate. Let's say it is not entirely settled. If the 
risk is so catastrophic, wouldn't it be prudent to try to take some 
measures to prevent it even if you are not sure? By the time we are 
sure--by the way, we are sure now. By the time Scott Pruitt is sure, it 
will be too late. It may already be too late. We may be beyond the 
tipping point, and all we can do is mitigate the danger, not stop it 
altogether, because we have been heedless of the consequences of the 
results that will impact the next generation of Americans and of people 
around the world.
  What are the consequences going to be? What if it gets a little bit 
warmer? We will be able to play golf longer in Maine--hey, not bad--but 
the consequences in many cases are going to

[[Page S1364]]

be catastrophic. There are many already affecting Maine in terms of 
where our lobster population is moving.
  I had a sea farmer in my office 2 days ago, a fellow who has a great 
business. He has grown it for years. It is really a serious business of 
growing oysters, and he has always grown them in the Damariscotta 
River. In fact, if you go to a fancy restaurant and ask for 
Damariscotta River oysters there, they are the top-level oysters in the 
world. He has always grown them in the river. He puts in the little 
seed. They start in little, tiny shells, and then they grow out. He can 
no longer grow them initially in the river because the water is so 
acidic from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is absorbed by the 
ocean, that the shells don't grow. He had to move the incubation part 
of his business onshore and treat the water to lower the acidity so 
that the shells will grow, and then when they get a certain size, he 
puts them back in the river.
  This is a real, direct, obvious, observable effect of global climate 
change and of too much CO2 in the atmosphere. It is not 
theoretical. It is not debatable. It is not that scientists differ. 
This guy is trying to make a living, and he can only do it by treating 
the water because the acid that has been created by the ocean in its 
absorbing the CO2 is making it impossible for the oysters to 
develop. That is a direct impact. Probably the most direct impact we 
are going to be able to see and identify and not avoid is sea level 
rise.
  Last summer--as a matter of fact, in August--I went to Greenland. Let 
me just put that in context. It is the continent of Greenland. The ice 
on Greenland, if and when it melts--and I think it is when, not if--
will add 61 feet to the ocean depth. The ice in Antarctica has 212 feet 
of sea level rise contained in it. Just think about that for a minute. 
Greenland is melting at a rate no one has seen before. I saw it with my 
own eyes. I saw these big things in the ice. We helicoptered out over 
the ice sheet, and you could see these big holes in the ice called 
moulins. Into those moulins are flowing, rushing rivers of meltwater. 
You can see them. They are blue, and they run across the ice and down 
into the hole, and they go all the way down to the bottom, 2 miles 
thick, where they lubricate the space between the ice and the land and 
accelerate the ice in its moving toward the ocean. ``Accelerate.'' That 
is an important term. That is a term I heard at the University of Maine 
from their climate scientists. That is a term I have heard from 
scientists in other parts of the country. ``Accelerate.'' ``Abrupt.''

  We all think of things changing very slowly; as a matter of fact, the 
very term glacial means ``moving slowly.'' Not anymore. We went to the 
Jakobshavn Glacier, the largest glacier that is draining the ice sheet 
of Greenland, and it has retreated as much in the past 10 years as in 
the prior 100 years. It has retreated as much in the past 10 years as 
in the prior 100 years. Do the math, and that is 10 times the rate that 
the ice is flowing off the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean and 
raising sea levels.
  One of the problems with what is going on now is the process of 
acceleration. For example, everybody knows that the ice in the Arctic 
Ocean is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. A cruise ship went 
through the Arctic Ocean last summer. The Arctic Ocean has been closed 
throughout human history. It has been unavailable for commerce. You 
couldn't get through. It was always covered with ice. In the summer it 
would clear a little bit. Now we are talking about international trade 
through the Arctic Ocean.
  What happens, though, scientifically, when the sun's rays hit the ice 
and the snow, 85 percent of the energy of the sun is bounced back. That 
is science. When the ice is gone and the dark ocean is available, 85 
percent of the sun's energy is absorbed into the ocean. That is called 
a feedback loop. That accelerates. The more it melts, the more it gets 
melted, and that is the kind of thing that is happening in Greenland, 
in Antarctica, and, indeed, all over the world.
  Here is something I learned on my trip to Greenland that I really 
hadn't absorbed. If there is anything we think of as a constant, it is 
the ocean. You walk down to the beach in Maine or on to the dock in 
Portland, you look out, and you see it. There it is. It is the way it 
has always been. It turns out it has always been that way for only 
8,000 years. It happens to have always been that way when people have 
been around and keeping records and taking pictures, but it hasn't 
always been that way.
  Here is an amazing bit of science that, frankly, I wasn't aware of. 
This is the ocean depth 24,000 years ago. This is the ocean depth 
today. So 24,000 years ago, it was 390 feet shallower than it is today. 
It was 390 feet shallower 24,000 years ago. Why 24,000 years ago? 
Because all the water was locked up in the glaciers. In one sense, 
Greenland and Antarctica are the last remnants of the glaciers, and 
they are now melting.
  This period, 24,000 years up to today, is how the oceans have risen. 
You can see coincidentally, it has been pretty fixed for 8,000 years, 
and that is why we think it is going to always be that way. I used to 
teach about the recency effect. All human beings tend to think that 
what happened last week is going to happen next week. But this tells us 
that the ocean level is variable.
  Here is the amazing spot, right here. It is called the meltwater 
pulse 1A; all geologists know about this. And if you do the calculation 
on this period, the ocean gained about a foot a decade. It got deeper. 
The sea level rose about a foot a decade during this period, and this 
is what we are facing right now.
  The best estimates I have been able to obtain are that we are facing 
about a foot to a foot and a half of sea level rise in the next 15 
years, and a foot a decade thereafter for the rest of the century. If 
you do the math, that is an additional 6 to 8 feet.
  In fact, there was an estimate just released last week that says it 
is more like 9 feet, 3 meters. Nine feet? Miami is gone; New Orleans, 
gone; New York, under deep threat; Bangladesh--we are talking about 
national security here because the people who are going to be pressed 
into migration because of this are going to create a national security 
and a migration crisis, the likes of which this country and the world 
has never seen. We are talking about 1 million or 2 million people out 
of Syria, and it has caused great uproar here and in Europe. The 
estimates are for the migration from climate change in the reasonably 
foreseeable future to be 200 million to 500 million people. Think of 
the national security implications of that.
  And here we are debating a nominee for the Environmental Protection 
Agency who says: Well, it is debatable; maybe it is, maybe it isn't.
  It is not debatable. This is happening. And for us to ignore it and 
to approve this nominee who is hostile, who has sued the Agency, and 
who has never done a thing in his life to protect the environment, is 
just outrageous. It is a dereliction of our responsibility, and we are 
going to look back on this moment and say: What were we thinking?
  I understand that the President won. Elections have results. He can 
move in the direction he wants to on policy, but this is beyond policy. 
This is just fundamentally irresponsible to our children, to their 
children, and the future of this country.
  So I hope, after this debate and after this discussion, the people of 
this body will come together--just as they did with the Secretary of 
Labor nominee, who really wasn't appropriate--and say the same thing.
  Plus, finally--I will just note this as a parenthetical--there is the 
issue of the emails in and out of this fellow's office when he was 
attorney general that they have been hiding for 2\1/2\ years or 3 years 
that may well become available in a week. If I were someone 
contemplating voting for this fellow, I sure as heck would want to wait 
until I saw these emails because there may be things there that are 
going to be profoundly embarrassing, if not worse.
  So there is no reason to move this nomination today, and there is no 
reason, in my view, to move this nomination at all.
  I understand that the EPA can overreach--any agency can overreach--
and there should be control on regulations. I have worked on regulatory 
reform since I have been here, but there is a difference between 
regulatory reform and a wrecking ball to the fundamental protections 
that have made so much difference to the people of this country.
  So I hope we will consider the future in our vote today--not just 
ourselves,

[[Page S1365]]

not just the regulations, not just a few people who may be profiting by 
the exploitation of these resources, but think about our kids, our 
grandchildren, and our ultimate responsibility to this country.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I wish to start where the Senator 
from Maine left off, and that is with respect to the approximately 
3,000 emails that Scott Pruitt, the nominee to lead the Environmental 
Protection Agency, has been hiding from public view. I hope all 
Senators know now that last night, a judge, Judge Timmons, ordered that 
those emails be released so the American public can see exactly what is 
going on.
  Here is what the judge said: ``There was an abject failure to provide 
prompt and reasonable access to the documents that had been 
requested.''
  Willful ignorance is always a bad policy, and I really hope that the 
Senate will not engage in willful ignorance when it comes to the 
nomination of Scott Pruitt. Why not wait a few days to see what is in 
the emails that were so deliberately hidden from public view? That 
should worry every Senator, Republican and Democrat alike.
  In addition to all of the concerns that have been raised by my 
colleagues on this floor with respect to having Scott Pruitt at the 
helm of EPA, Marylanders have a special concern. In fact, those who are 
part of the Chesapeake Bay States have a very, very special concern.
  The Chesapeake Bay is a natural treasure, and it is a national 
treasure. It is the Nation's largest estuary. It is beloved by 
Marylanders and beloved by all who benefit from its great bounty.
  Marylanders get up in the morning and go crabbing on the bay. It has 
also been a source of income for our State and the other bay States.
  The reality is that our tourism industry depends on a healthy bay. 
Our watermen depend on a healthy bay. Our boating industry depends on a 
healthy bay. So it is not only an environmental imperative, it is an 
economic imperative in the State of Maryland. And the Chesapeake Bay is 
threatened more than almost any other water body in the United States 
by pollution. That is because its tidal tributaries have a shoreline 
more than the whole west coast of the United States. In other words, if 
you look at the water surface of the bay and you look at the surface 
area of the rivers and streams feeding into the bay and you look at all 
the shoreline there, it is greater than the west coast.
  The surface water area, including the 150 major rivers and streams 
and more than 100,000 smaller tributaries, is 4,500 square miles. But 
the watershed--the landmass that drains into that area--is 64,000 
square miles, from six States and the District of Columbia, everywhere 
from Virginia to parts of New York State. And because the bay is 
threatened by pollution coming from throughout that great area--those 
six States and the District of Columbia--back in the 1960s, people 
recognized we had to do something about it because we had combined 
sewer water overflows, we had fertilizer runoff, we had stormwater 
runoff from six States and the District of Columbia bordering the 
Chesapeake Bay and threatening its livelihood and threatening the 
economy of the State of Maryland.
  That is when a number of States got together and said: We have to do 
something about it. Senator Mathias, who was a Republican Senator from 
the State of Maryland, brought people together and said: We need to do 
a national study funded by the Federal Government because, in a 
situation where you have so many States contributing to the pollution 
of the bay, obviously, it is not within the power of only one State to 
do something about it.
  And over nearly three decades from those early days back in the 1960s 
and beyond, we entered into a number of bay agreements with the three 
States immediately around the bay: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, 
and the District of Columbia, and then it got expanded over time. But 
despite all of the efforts in those States, it was as if we were on a 
treadmill.
  The good news is the actions taken by the States, with the help of 
the EPA, meant that we were not going backward. It was a little bit as 
if we were trying to run up a down escalator. If we hadn't been taking 
any action, we would be going down fast. The bay would get more and 
more polluted, become less and less healthy. But even with all the 
measures we were taking, it was as if we were running in place on that 
escalator that was going down.
  So in 2009, the bay States decided that they needed to put more teeth 
in the enforcement mechanisms to make sure that everybody was being 
held accountable for their share of cleaning up this precious natural 
resource and natural treasure.
  That is when we entered into an agreement with the Environmental 
Protection Agency, giving the EPA the authority to help enforce the 
provisions of that agreement if any State strayed. And the results have 
been very important and very encouraging. Just this January, the 
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, in its biannual ``State of the Bay Report,'' 
gave the Chesapeake Bay its highest, its healthiest score since the 
report began in 1987.
  I want to be clear. We are still a long way from a healthy Chesapeake 
Bay, but we have gone from running in place to actually making a few 
steps forward, and that is largely as a result of the efforts of the 
bay agreement and the new leverage that the Environmental Protection 
Agency has to enforce compliance with that agreement.
  Here is where the story of the President's nominee to be the head of 
EPA intersects with the Chesapeake Bay. As attorney general of the 
landlocked State of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt decided to join in a court 
case to try to blow up this Chesapeake Bay agreement. He decided from 
Oklahoma that he wanted to get in the business--the bipartisan business 
that had been supported by Republican and Democratic Governors alike, 
Republican and Democratic Senators alike, over a long period of time. 
He sued, along with others, the EPA to try to prevent the EPA from 
playing this important role that helped give us a boost.
  Now, the good news is Scott Pruitt and the others failed. The judge 
said: Sorry, you are wrong; this does not exceed the EPA's authority. 
The good news is that we are going to continue to proceed. But what are 
we going to do when Scott Pruitt, who brought that lawsuit against the 
Chesapeake Bay agreement, is the Administrator of the EPA?
  Senator Cardin, my friend and colleague from the State of Maryland, 
asked him about this at the hearing. At the hearing, Scott Pruitt made 
some positive statements about this agreement. Then Senator Cardin 
wanted to follow up and make sure he heard it straight, and so he 
followed up with some questions in writing. What came back were a 
series of statements that showed that Scott Pruitt was backtracking on 
the commitment he had made--backtracking on his promise to lead a 
strong EPA and have an important EPA role in enforcing this Chesapeake 
Bay agreement.
  In addition to the fact that he has shown willful ignorance about the 
dangers of climate change, which are all so very real to the State of 
Maryland--just go down to the Naval Academy and ask the superintendent 
there, and he will tell you they have many more storm surges right 
there in Annapolis as a result of climate change--and so many other 
areas where Scott Pruitt has sided with big money, special interests, 
polluting special interests, he clearly is somebody whom we worry about 
in the State of Maryland with respect to protecting the Chesapeake Bay.
  So I ask all my colleagues to join with us in at least demanding now 
that we have an opportunity to see the 3,000 emails, which a judge has 
required be provided to the public next week.
  I hope all Senators don't want to be embarrassed by voting for 
somebody today, only to find very compromising emails next week. I 
really believe we have an obligation to the American people to ensure 
that we have an opportunity to view those emails. I certainly know the 
people of Maryland, when it comes to protecting our beautiful 
Chesapeake Bay--both because of its natural beauty but also because it 
is essential to our economy--join me in encouraging my colleagues to 
ask for a delay and, at the very least, vote no on the nomination of 
Scott Pruitt.
  I yield the floor.

[[Page S1366]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, as everyone in this Chamber knows, we 
are currently debating and preparing to vote on the nomination of Scott 
Pruitt to be the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
Agency.
  The truth is that we don't have all the information we need to make 
this important decision. We don't have all the facts we ought to have. 
That is because the nominee, in his role as attorney general of 
Oklahoma, worked very hard to keep the information contained, 
controlled, and unavailable to the Senators in this Chamber and 
unavailable to the citizens of the United States of America.
  For 2 years now, his office has stonewalled attempts to make public 
the records of over 3,000 email communications with members of the 
fossil fuel industry. Two years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy 
requested these emails through the Oklahoma Open Records Act. Who is 
the person who decides whether to release those records? The attorney 
general of Oklahoma. Who is the nominee before us? The attorney general 
of Oklahoma.
  When Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee 
requested these records from Mr. Pruitt during the confirmation 
process, the answer we got back was this: ``I would direct you to make 
a request of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office under the Oklahoma 
Open Records Act.'' Now, when he encouraged us to make that request, he 
knew--and we shortly knew--that he had no intention of actually 
granting access. He was telling us to get in line behind more than 50 
other requests for that information, and that request has not yet been 
answered. In fact, Senator Whitehouse did put in a request directly to 
the Oklahoma attorney general's office using the Oklahoma Open Records 
Act. Imagine what the result was. Did the attorney general of Oklahoma 
immediately release these records? He did not. Have we those records 
today? We do not.
  But yesterday, Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons 
ruled on whether or not the public deserves access to these emails and 
deserves access to these records, and she ordered the attorney general 
to do his job--to release the records so that we here in the Chamber 
will have that information, so that the American public will have that 
information. Judge Timmons said there was ``an abject failure to 
provide prompt and reasonable access to documents requested.''
  On Tuesday, the first batch of emails is going to be released to the 
public. That is just a few days from now. But if we vote today, we 
won't have that information before us. It will be too late for us to 
have all the facts and information we need to make a qualified decision 
on whether Mr. Pruitt is a fit character or unfit character to be a 
member of the President's Cabinet. That is exactly what the Founders of 
our Nation charged us with doing in the advice and consent 
responsibility--to determine whether a nominee is a fit character or 
unfit character.
  So we here in the Senate are not doing our job. Under our 
responsibility under the Constitution, if we vote today, not having yet 
reviewed the information in those emails that the judge has just said 
must be released, we are being asked--or, more pointedly, forced--by 
the majority leader to rush through the confirmation of Mr. Pruitt 
without having this vital information.
  This is a question of transparency. This is a question of exercising 
our authority in a responsible fashion. This is about the right of the 
Members of the Senate to have the information needed to fulfill their 
responsibility under the Constitution. This is about the right of the 
citizens of the United States to know Members here are doing their job 
and to weigh in--to weigh in with us on what they consider to be fit 
character and unfit character. We should not deny Americans the right 
to know.
  That is why I will ask unanimous consent of this Chamber in a moment 
to postpone the vote until 10 a.m. on March 3, because that would give 
us the full ability to get both sets of emails and have 3 days to 
review them, which I think is most reasonable.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the confirmation vote 
on Calendar No. 15, the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of 
the Environmental Protection Agency, be postponed until 10 a.m. on 
March 3.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I am disappointed with the majority 
leader's objection. I know all of us who serve in this Chamber want to 
do our job in a fashion in which we thoroughly and responsibly execute 
the responsibilities of our office. We can't do that without these 
emails. These emails have been stonewalled for 2 years. I know that if 
the shoe were on the other foot, there is a very good chance the 
advocacy for transparency would be coming from multiple Members across 
the aisle.
  So I am disappointed the decision has been made to object to holding 
the vote after the time that both sets of emails have been released. 
But I do understand the majority leader has responsibility for the 
schedule for the Senate. So I am going to tailor back my request and 
ask that the vote be held after the first batch of emails is released. 
They are going to be held next Tuesday and we are going to be out next 
week. So under this request, no time is lost in the Chamber in 
considering the nomination. It does not delay any other work of this 
Chamber. It does not stand in the way of anything else we might do. It 
just means that we hold the vote when we get back, instead of holding 
it this afternoon before we leave.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the confirmation vote 
on Calendar No. 15, the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of 
the Environmental Protection Agency, be postponed until 9 p.m. on 
February 27.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, both of my unanimous consent requests 
have been rejected, as is the right of any Member. But still, there is 
a principle here--a principle of executing our responsibilities and a 
principle of transparency, a principle of understanding whether or not 
the individual before us is a fit character to serve in the office.
  So I am going to make a formal motion, which is allowed under the 
rules, to extend this debate. The rules call for 30 hours of debate but 
provide a clause that, by a vote, we can extend that debate. I propose 
we extend that debate for an additional 248 hours. That 248 hours would 
take us until Monday evening, on the evening we return. So again, no 
time is lost with the agenda before this body, but we would all have 
the chance to review those 3,000--or at least the first batch of those 
emails--to determine if there is information that is related to whether 
the nominee is fit or unfit to hold this office.


                        Motion to Extend Debate

  Therefore, I move to extend postcloture debate on Calendar No. 15, 
the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency, for an additional 248 hours.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding the provisions of rule XXII, a vote in relation to the 
motion to extend debate on the Pruitt nomination occur at 12:30 p.m. 
today, and that following disposition of that motion, there be 4 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form prior to a vote on 
the nomination.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.


             Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that 
following disposition of the Pruitt nomination, the Senate resume 
consideration of the following nominations en bloc: Wilbur Ross to be 
Secretary of Commerce, Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of Interior, Ben 
Carson to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Rick Perry 
to be Secretary of Energy.
  I further ask unanimous consent that there be 30 minutes of debate on 
the

[[Page S1367]]

nominations, equally divided in the usual form, and that following the 
use or yielding back of time, the Senate vote on the nominations in the 
order listed with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. MERKLEY. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, over the past several weeks, we have 
seen a historic level of obstruction from our Democratic colleagues on 
the President's Cabinet. Let me say that again--truly historic, 
unprecedented, harmful, and pointless obstruction. It is one thing to 
obstruct to get some outcome. Really, these are a collection of futile 
gestures not changing the outcome on any of these nominations.
  They have postponed committee meetings as long as they possibly 
could. They forced unnecessary procedural hurdles, and they have even 
boycotted markups altogether.
  So as I indicated, to what end? It hasn't prevented the Senate from 
moving forward with the confirmation of these nominees. And, by the 
way, it hasn't--and it won't--change the outcome of the election, 
either, which was back in November. I think it is pretty clear that 
that is what this is all about.
  Instead, this Democratic obstruction has just kept many of our 
Nation's most critical agencies without a leader for too long--
needlessly delaying the President from fully standing up this new 
administration. It has led to what is now the longest it has taken to 
confirm most of the President's Cabinet since George Washington--what a 
record for our Democratic colleagues to hold.
  Enough is enough. We need to put the rest of the President's Cabinet 
into place without further delay. Confirming these well-qualified 
nominees is what is best for our country. My goodness, isn't that what 
we should all want?
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Madam President, I speak in opposition to Scott Pruitt, 
and I thank Senator Carper for the good work he has done in leading the 
opposition to someone who is a climate change denier and will not 
release information that the public should see.
  I want to say a few comments about the majority leader's comments. I 
am incredulous that he thinks this has been unfair to the Trump 
administration and Republicans; that we have not moved faster. We know 
a bunch of things. We know President Trump didn't begin his vetting 
process, as most Presidential candidates do, in August.
  We then know right after the election he fired his person in charge 
of vetting and of the transition. We know then he appointed people 
without vetting them because he wanted to speed it up, and we also know 
that a number of people who President Trump nominated were billionaires 
and Wall Street bankers, and they had very complicated financial 
backgrounds and holdings, and because the Trump administration didn't 
do it, the Senate had to do it, and the media had to do it--to look at 
the backgrounds of some of these nominees.
  Then, on top of that, we saw a level of corruption we had never seen 
in Presidential nominations. We saw a Secretary of Health and Human 
Services--passed by being voted for by every Republican--who bought and 
sold healthcare stocks while a Member of Congress, voting on and 
sponsoring healthcare amendments and bills.
  We saw other nominees. We saw Secretary Mnuchin, and Senator Carper 
played a role in this, now-Secretary Mnuchin, who forgot to disclose a 
$100 million investment he had and then lied to the Senate committee, 
as pointed out by the Columbus Dispatch--the most conservative paper in 
my State--about robo-signing, sending hundreds of people in my State 
into foreclosure.
  The ethics of these nominees are such, and then you have Scott Pruitt 
to be Administrator of the EPA, and he will not disclose 2,600 emails 
that we know how--as Senator Carper has done such a good job on--we 
know how a number of these emails point to--I am not a lawyer--if not 
the word ``collusion,'' certainly doing the bidding of the fossil fuel 
industry that he might occasionally want to regulate instead of the 
EPA. That is the story.
  I want an Administrator of the EPA who wants to protect the country's 
great natural resources, not someone hell-bent on undermining the 
Agency he will lead. The environmental challenges we face in my State 
are too great to put the EPA in the hands of someone with a track 
record of putting polluters before public health, of choosing companies 
that pollute over communities that are victimized by that pollution, 
and too often he is doing the work of campaign donors instead of the 
public.
  I know what the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts have meant to my 
State. I know what Lake Erie looks like. When I was a kid, I lived 
about an hour and a half away. Lake Erie was an environmental disaster. 
The counties of Cuyahoga, Erie, and Lorain couldn't clean it up. The 
State of Ohio didn't have the resources to clean it up.
  It was only that terrible fire in Cleveland where bridge trestles on 
the Cuyahoga River caught on fire that got the Nixon administration to 
move and create the EPA, and then we cleaned up Lake Erie. That was one 
of the great accomplishments in our country's history--environmental 
and otherwise, one of the great accomplishments.
  It was a Republican administration with the Democratic Congress, when 
good environmental policy was bipartisan, when Republicans as well as 
Democrats believed in being stewards of the Earth in following a number 
of the teachings of the New Testament about being stewards of the 
Earth.
  It was a sustained effort by citizens and by their elected officials 
in both parties to protect our public health. The EPA affects the water 
that comes into our children's drinking fountains. It affects our small 
businesses that rely on tourists at our lakes and beaches. It affects 
farmers who feed the Nation. According to Dr. Aparna Bole--a pediatric 
specialist at Cleveland's University Hospital in Cleveland--asthma 
rates in my part of Ohio are above the national average because of the 
region's poor air quality.
  Climate change is not some distant problem. We tend to think about 
wildfires in the West or devastation faced by coastal communities, like 
those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Midwest is affected too.
  In August, 2014, a harmful algae bloom left 500,000 Ohioans in 
Greater Toledo, in Northwest Ohio, without safe drinking water for 
nearly 3 days. This is Lake Erie. This is more or less the natural 
color of Lake Erie. This is the algal bloom. It is a stunning, 
beautiful picture if you don't know what it is, but when you see a boat 
cutting through these algal blooms and seeing what this meant, as the 
algae chokes Lake Erie--Lake Erie right here is about 30 feet deep. 
Contrast that with Lake Superior, 600 feet, and you will see why Lake 
Erie is more vulnerable.
  Lake Erie is 2 percent of the water in all the Great Lakes. Lake Erie 
has 50 percent of the fish of all the Great Lakes. The fish like 
shallower and warmer water, but they don't like these kinds of algal 
blooms and what they do to this community. Because it is the shallowest 
of the Great Lakes, and this is the shallowest part of this great lake, 
it is uniquely vulnerable to these harmful algal blooms.
  We know these blooms are caused by excess nutrients in our water--
untreated sewage, urban runoff, and runoff from farm fields. This 
Maumee River Basin going into the lake from the south, going into the 
lake just north of Toledo, drains the largest 2 million acres, the 
largest basin of any tributary going into any of the Great Lakes.
  On Wednesday, I met with David Spangler, a charter boat captain on 
Lake Erie. We talked about how the Great Lakes region has seen a 37-
percent increase in heavy rain events. We have seen that hotter summers 
make the blooms worse. We talked about protecting the lake as one of 
the great environmental challenges, not just for Ohio or even the 
industrial Midwest but protecting Lake Erie and the Great Lakes, the 
greatest source of freshwater in the world, by most measurements--how 
important that is.
  Dave has been fishing on this lake and its tributaries for decades. 
He bragged about the improvements we

[[Page S1368]]

have seen over the year--how water quality has improved, how walleye 
and yellow perch populations have rebounded, how he leads fishing 
expeditions on the Great Lakes, on Lake Erie. You know what, look at 
what these algal blooms have done. You can guess what they have done. 
Nobody will go fishing in these kinds of waters.
  If the algal bloom is there too long, lots of fish die in addition to 
that. We need an EPA Administrator who understands that the 
contamination hurts everything from our children's health to our small 
businesses. He told me he doesn't think Scott Pruitt is the right 
person for this job. He believes that with Scott Pruitt at the helm of 
the EPA, we would likely lose the gains we made in the lake.
  Of particular concern to both Mr. Spangler and me is that Mr. Pruitt 
said mercury does not cause a threat to human health. Really? Mercury 
doesn't cause a threat to human health? If Mr. Pruitt doesn't believe 
that, I would like him to explain to me why the Ohio EPA, the Ohio 
Department of Health--both with Republican administrators--have a 
statewide mercury advisory stating that women of childbearing age and 
children under 15 are advised to eat no more than one meal per week of 
fish from any Ohio water body. Think about that. You shouldn't eat more 
than one meal a week of fish taken out of any of the Ohio aqua system--
limit the amount of fish eaten from our State's largest body. That 
means even though we worked for decades to reduce mercury emissions, 
apparently Mr. Pruitt doesn't think mercury exposure is a threat to 
public health.
  Mr. Pruitt has solicited thousands of dollars of campaign 
contributions for himself, the Republican Attorneys General 
Association, all the Republican attorneys general. There are three 
dozen or so of them. They work together to raise lots of money to keep 
themselves in office so they can continue to do some of the work they 
do. Some of the work they do is stand in the way of good environmental 
policy.
  He has refused, for years, as Senators Merkley and Carper have 
pointed out consistently, to disclose some 2,600 documents, showing 
correspondence between his office and the very companies he is supposed 
to ensure follow the law.
  We know who some of those companies are. What is he hiding? Why won't 
he tell the Senate what is in those documents? Why does the Senate 
Republican leader not want us to see those documents? Because he is 
saying, no, we have to vote on this now. It just happens to be we will 
be looking at documents over the next few days, but apparently it is 
not going to be able to affect this vote.
  It could be because in the past he submitted letters to the EPA that 
were written by the companies he is supposed to regulate. Think about 
that. An oil company writes a letter and then that letter remarkably 
ends up pretty much word for word to be sent to the EPA.
  Allowing him to become EPA Administrator is like allowing an arsonist 
to become the fire chief--the goal of both is to burn things down. Mr. 
Pruitt's record clearly shows he is not the right person to lead our 
Environmental Protection Agency.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, today I must vote to oppose the 
confirmation of Scott Pruitt as the President's nominee for 
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. While I 
believe that the President enjoys some privilege of selecting 
administration officials, the views that Mr. Pruitt and I hold on a 
wide range of key environmental issues are completely irreconcilable. I 
was deeply disturbed by Mr. Pruitt's lack of specificity and his 
evasiveness during his hearing and in response to written questions.
  While no one would expect Mr. Pruitt to detail the new Trump 
administration's policies on these complex issues, we do expect the 
nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency to share with us 
his own views on important matters, including whether there are any EPA 
regulations he supports, or whether he would fully recuse himself from 
making decisions in all legal cases in which he was an original party--
but no. Instead, he testified that he had not conducted a comprehensive 
review of existing EPA regulations. With respect to recusals, he 
asserts that he would simply follow the recommendations of the EPA's 
ethics office. That is not good enough.
  I am deeply disturbed by Mr. Pruitt's evasive responses. This does 
not bode well for his future interactions with Congress where he will 
certainly be required to appear before committees and provide 
testimony, briefing materials, and other information in a timely 
manner. Under oath before the Environment and Public Works Committee, 
he told the committee members, U.S. Senators, to go to the back of the 
line, to make records requests to his home State if they wanted 
information. This is information that Mr. Pruitt could and should have 
provided to the committee. As a result, information needed by the 
Senate to judge his fitness for this position has yet to be revealed.
  Committee members were told 19 separate times to get the information 
they were requesting from his own office, the Oklahoma Attorney 
General's Office, an office that has more than a 2-year backlog for 
such requests. That is not the spirit of openness and transparency we 
expect and must demand from witnesses, let alone from nominees who come 
before the U.S. Senate. How can the Senate adequately fulfill its 
responsibility of advice and consent if nominees will not cooperate? 
Mr. Pruitt has stonewalled the committee and the entire Senate on 
answers to basic questions about possible conflicts of interest. He has 
refused to provide relevant emails and other documents. This is 
unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to advance and approve this 
nominee without a clear and complete view of his record and his close 
relationships with the very companies he will be tasked with 
regulating.
  With respect to the Agency that he has been nominated to lead, it is 
imperative that we not reverse or halt the tremendous progress that has 
been made in achieving strong, scientifically based environmental 
protection goals. The EPA itself was born out of an environmental 
crisis in this country, in the wake of elevated awareness of and 
concern about pollution. This came after our Nation watched in horror 
as the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, OH, burst into flames again as it 
was so saturated with sewage and industrial waste that it oozed rather 
than flowed. That pollution was a byproduct of unchecked pollution from 
industrial wastes.
  Over its 46 years, the EPA has made enormous progress and become one 
of the world's most successful protectors of public health and the 
environment. Americans now expect clean air and clean water, where, 
before the EPA was created, we expected nothing more than burning 
rivers and polluted air. While cleaning up the environment, we have 
also grown jobs and strengthened our economy. However, we continue to 
face an environmental crisis of our own making with climate change, and 
EPA's mission to protect public health and the environment reminds us 
that the tasks of this Agency are essential to every single American. 
Americans care about having clean air to breath, safe drinking water, 
and swimmable and fishable rivers and streams. They want their food to 
be free of pesticides and their workplaces to be healthy and safe. They 
want their children to have a future that is free of the dangers of 
climate change.
  Sadly, Mr. Pruitt refuses to accept the scientific community's 
overwhelming consensus that unchecked increases in greenhouse gas 
emissions will have catastrophic effects. The science is crystal clear 
that the impacts of climate change will increase in frequency and 
scale. Even the Department of Defense recognizes that climate change 
will impact the complexity of future missions, including defense 
support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the 
capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities.
  Climate change cannot be dismissed as merely a political issue. We 
need to address the unfettered release of carbon and other greenhouse 
gases and have a strong resilience strategy to address the plight of 
future generations and the hazards already plaguing this one; yet we 
continue to have political claims thrown about that the EPA's work to 
address climate change and limit carbon emissions is to blame for the 
decline in the coal industry. At their base, these are more 
``alternative facts.'' This was confirmed yet again

[[Page S1369]]

this week as the owners of the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired 
power plant in Arizona, voted to close the facility at the end of 2019. 
It was not EPA regulations or the Clean Power Plan that were cited as 
the reason for the closure of the coal-fired plant. No, it was the fact 
that, in a market that is saturated by cheap natural gas prices, the 
plant was no longer economical to operate. Attempts by the President 
and this nominee to spread alternative facts and to misleadingly 
promise to prop up an industry, by blaming action on climate change, is 
not the way to move our country forward and stimulate innovation that 
will create good, new American jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.
  For the benefit of the Senate record on this nominee, I would like to 
take this opportunity to share some of the messages that I have 
received from thousands of Vermonters over the past few weeks about 
this nominee. One Vermonter from Norwich, VT, a student studying 
sustainability and environmental management, said she is fearful of Mr. 
Pruitt's focus on eliminating and defunding any programs that could 
help to stop climate change. She went on to describe the importance of 
peer-reviewed scientific research on climate change and how Federal 
support for our leading academic institutions to complete this research 
is in our national interest as we monitor the Earth's vital signs.
  I also heard from a constituent from Essex Junction, Vermont, who 
shared with me how he has seen firsthand at his technology company how 
the Federal promotion of research and development has directly promoted 
innovation and technological change. This innovation and these 
technical advances have led to new technologies that have radically 
changed many aspects of our lives and have transformed our economy, 
creating jobs, and invigorating our entrepreneurial spirit. He was 
concerned that Mr. Pruitt would seek to dismantle work that the EPA has 
done to find better ways to solve environmental problems, from research 
and technology to regulation, community programs, and external 
partnerships as they work to find creative ways to achieve results.

  I also heard from Vermont farmers like one in Bristol, VT, who shared 
with me how her family farm has experienced the firsthand chaotic 
effects of climate change and has responded to the call to be more 
resilient. She voiced her willingness to cooperate with government 
regulations to protect our air, water, and soil and that we ``need the 
EPA to use science and enforcement to lead the charge.'' She went on to 
say that the head of the EPA should be working to ensure that our air 
is clean to breathe and our water is safe to drink, not to ensure that 
polluters get a free pass. I agree wholeheartedly with her.
  From rural Hartland, I heard from one Vermonter who said that ``the 
health and wellbeing of Americans must be a priority--not the wealth of 
a few corporations and the individuals that benefit from that wealth. 
America must be a global leader when it comes to addressing climate 
change if all nations are to take appropriate measures.''
  As Vermont's ski resorts have enjoyed over ample snow in the last 
week, I have heard from hundreds of snow sport enthusiasts who are 
deeply worried about Mr. Pruitt leading the EPA. They know that climate 
change is a threat to our planet and to our economy. In recent years, 
we have seen abnormally high temperatures that severely hurt our ski 
and tourism industries in Vermont. Many ski areas saw business down 20 
percent, and some saw a drop of as much as 40 percent. This does not 
just affect our ski areas and our mountains, but also our restaurants, 
our local hotels, contractors, and countless other businesses that are 
driven by the vitality of our ski industry. For the State of Vermont, 
the revenue from ski slopes is an important part of our economy, and we 
need an EPA Administrator ready to tackle the problems of climate 
change, not one whose primary goal is supporting business as usual for 
the worst polluters.
  I agree with the thousands of Vermonters who have contacted me 
concerned about this nominee. I believe that Mr. Pruitt's nomination 
sends exactly the wrong signal to the country and to the world as we 
are combatting the global impacts and causes of climate change. His 
nomination represents a massive shift away from putting public health 
and the environment first, and towards ``Polluters `R' Us''--the 
industries that directly benefit from being given free rein to pollute. 
His past conduct suggests that he will do everything he can to support 
those polluters and put their profits ahead of the public good.
  The decisions made by the Administrator of the EPA affect the air we 
breathe, our scenic rivers, our precious resources, the water that our 
children drink, and the rate at which the United States contributes to 
the rapidly changing global climate. This appointee's work will have a 
long-term global impact and a major impact on all of our children and 
grandchildren and on our shared heritage and our natural legacy as 
Americans.
  In my years in the U.S. Senate, I have evaluated many nominees and I 
have supported nominations from both Republican and Democratic 
Presidents, despite my reservations on some views they held. I have 
also opposed some nominees because their records were so clearly 
contrary to the public interest. Rarely have I seen a nominee so 
totally unqualified and so profoundly a threat to our environment. The 
views Mr. Pruitt and I hold on protecting Americans' health and our 
environment and addressing climate change are far too conflicting to 
allow me to support his nomination.
  The Senate will confirm Mr. Pruitt. Of this, there is no question. 
But then we will begin our duty to provide dogged oversight of his 
actions at the EPA. Public trust and confidence demand the highest 
level of accountability to ensure the stewardship of our federal funds, 
to safeguard the integrity of the EPA, to base decisions on rigorous, 
fact-based, peer-reviewed science, for the protection of both public 
health and our environment.
  I worry that confirming Mr. Pruitt will turn the Environmental 
Protection Agency into the ``Polluters Protection Agency.'' I cannot 
support his confirmation.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I rise today to voice my concerns 
about the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency.
  More than 74,000 Californians have contacted my office expressing 
serious concerns about Mr. Pruitt's nomination.
  Californians want an EPA Administrator with a demonstrated commitment 
to protecting public health and the environment. Unfortunately, Mr. 
Pruitt's record shows the opposite: a clear hostility to public health 
and environmental protections at both the Federal and State level.
  Californians rightfully fear that Mr. Pruitt's only plan for the EPA 
is to dismantle the Agency from within and give polluters free rein.
  The EPA is the lead enforcement agency for bedrock environmental laws 
like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking 
Water Act. The EPA works with States, local communities and tribes to 
provide funding and expertise for fulfilling these environmental laws 
that keep our communities healthy and safe.
  Based on his record as Attorney General of Oklahoma and his past 
statements, including in his confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt is not 
the right man for this very important job.
  As the Oklahoma Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt eliminated the State's 
environmental protection unit, which enforces State environmental laws, 
including suing polluters for criminal negligence.
  Meanwhile, he's led or participated in over 14 partisan lawsuits 
against the EPA, challenging the Agency's ability to implement Federal 
environmental protections, lawsuits that challenged protections against 
mercury pollution, ``polluter pays'' clean-up requirements, the Clean 
Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.
  And his rhetoric matches his record. Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly 
questioned the validity of widely accepted science that undergirds EPA 
action. He routinely treats the scientific consensus on climate change 
as merely a debate. In an interview with Exploring Energy, Pruitt 
stated: ``There are scientists that agree, there are scientists that 
don't agree, to the extent of man's contribution and whether it is even 
harmful at this point.''

[[Page S1370]]

  He dismissed the dangers of mercury pollution, arguing in one of his 
lawsuits: ``The record does not support EPA's finding that mercury . . 
. poses public health hazards. . .''
  At his confirmation hearing, when asked whether there is any level of 
lead exposure that is safe for children, he could only reply ``that is 
something that I have not reviewed nor know about.''
  Even on his public profile, he described himself as ``a leading 
advocate against the EPA's activist agenda.''
  We are supposed to trust someone to enforce our environmental laws 
who considers himself the primary foe of the EPA? That record is 
troubling enough, but Mr. Pruitt also faces many conflict of interest 
issues that he has refused to commit to recusing himself from as EPA 
Administrator, including: conflicts that would exist over ongoing 
lawsuits that he brought against the EPA as Oklahoma's Attorney General 
or matters or cases under the EPA's authority that involve 
organizations from which Pruitt has solicited campaign funding.
  During his hearing, Mr. Pruitt deflected questions over potential 
conflicts of interest by stating the ``EPA ethics counsel will evaluate 
that if a matter or case comes up in the future.'' This is an 
inadequate protection against conflicts of interest.
  The Environmental Protection Agency is very important to the health 
and well-being of the people of California.
  For example, California received over $100 million in loans from the 
EPA last year to maintain and improve our water infrastructure, 
including wastewater treatment systems, drinking water systems, and 
water recycling facilities. Those funds were vital as our State 
grappled with an historic drought.
  The EPA has also been a vital partner with California in developing 
stronger motor vehicle efficiency standards. One of my proudest 
accomplishments was enacting landmark fuel economy legislation, the 
Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act, which raised fuel economy standards to the 
maximum achievable rate. This law marked the largest increase in fuel 
efficiency in more than two decades and led to an administrative 
program expected to raise average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon 
by 2025.
  This program is the greatest tool we have to reduce greenhouse gas 
emissions from the transportation sector, and it is working. An 
important technical review concluded this July that automakers are 
already exceeding Federal benchmarks for improved fuel economy by 1.4 
miles per gallon.
  A large part of its success is the cooperation between the Federal 
Government and California to establish a single, coordinated, national 
program that is strong enough to satisfy all parties and stable enough 
to guide investment decisions by the auto makers.
  During his confirmation hearing, my colleague Senator Harris asked 
Mr. Pruitt directly if he would commit to upholding California's right 
to issue its own regulations, which is the way we participate in 
creating the national program. He declined, committing only to review 
the issue, which is not acceptable.
  We in California know that climate change is real and is happening 
now. It is contributing to more volatile weather, including longer, 
stronger droughts and harsher bursts of rain.
  We have a limited amount of time left to reduce the greenhouse gas 
emissions of our transportation and energy systems. If we allow the 
world to warm by more than 2 degrees C, we will be locking in a future 
of unacceptable disasters for our children and grandchildren.
  Now, more than ever, we need strong leadership as other major 
countries like China and India have begun to engage on the issue, and 
we cannot allow the EPA to reverse course and go backward after the 
progress we have made.
  In his words and actions, Scott Pruitt has demonstrated more interest 
in fighting against the mission of the EPA than in fighting for it.
  Mr. Pruitt has done little to nothing to protect the people of 
Oklahoma from the dangers and health problems caused by pollution, 
preferring to sue on behalf of corporate interests. There is nothing to 
suggest he would do anything different for the American people as EPA 
Administrator.
  For this reason and many more, I will vote against Scott Pruitt's 
confirmation to head the EPA.
  Mr. COTTON. Madam President, it is hard to overstate the amount of 
distrust there is between rural America and the EPA.
  I represent the State of Arkansas, where about 70,000 of our citizens 
are farmers. Agriculture is our largest industry, adding about $16 
billion to our economy every year. But even those members--big as they 
are--can't give you a full appreciation of just how important the land 
is to our people. Sure, they make a living off it, but farming isn't 
just an ``industry'' to us--it is not just another statistical category 
like ``nondurable goods manufacturing.'' It is a way of life. The 
people of Arkansas cultivate the land. They nurture it. They teach 
their children how to care for it. These are people who get up at 5 
a.m. to milk the cows. They have had these farms in their families for 
generations. They pass on the land--and the values they have learned 
along with it. They believe in the EPA's mission of preserving a 
healthy environment just as much as anyone.
  Yes, they are stewards of the earth, these men and women, yet the EPA 
too often treats them as criminals. In the last 8 years alone, the EPA 
has been treating their property rights more like a form of parole. It 
has passed sweeping regulations that presume to tell farmers when they 
can plant and how often they can run a tractor. It has declared 
something as tiny as a mud puddle on a family farm as a ``navigable 
water''--thus under the EPA's jurisdiction it has put on a show of 
soliciting ``feedback'' from the people who have to live under its 
rules, while cavalierly dismissing most of their concerns, and all the 
while pursuing an activist agenda, whether through the Clean Power Plan 
or the waters of the United States rule, it has failed to fulfill its 
core mission: keeping our people safe. Just remember, the EPA helped 
bring criminal charges and a $15,000 fine against a North Carolina farm 
owner who accidentally spilled cow dung into a river; yet when it 
caused the wastewater spill into the Animas River, it stalled and 
withheld important information from investigators. If a company had 
acted like the EPA, it would likely have faced criminal charges--
brought about by the EPA.
  It is this state of affairs that our next EPA Administrator will 
inherit, and I want to take this opportunity to say President's Trump 
nominee, Scott Pruitt, has my support.
  I think he is especially qualified to lead the Agency at this time 
because he comes from rural America himself. As the attorney general of 
Oklahoma, he fought the EPA's overreach in court more than half a dozen 
times. I believe he understands that Arkansas farmers and the American 
people know the needs of their land far better than Washington 
bureaucrats do. When I met with him a few weeks ago, we discussed the 
impact EPA regulations are having on Arkansas farms, businesses, and 
energy companies. We also talked about Fort Smith's issues with an 
inflexible EPA consent decree. It was clear from our conversation he 
knew environmental law backwards and forwards, but he also had 
something else: a real-world appreciation of the burden that heavy-
handed regulations put on our farmers and on rural America.
  I believe Scott Pruitt understands we can have both a robust economy 
and a healthy environment. I believe he will pull back the EPA's 
excesses and focus on its core mission. I believe, under his 
leadership, the EPA can begin to rebuild the trust it has lost with 
rural America, the trust that is necessary for it to achieve its goals. 
And so, for all of these reasons, I will be voting to confirm.
  Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, last month I stood here to express my 
serious concerns about the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency.
  As the vote draws closer, I want to reiterate those concerns and give 
voice to the thousands of individuals and groups in Oregon who have 
sent letters and made calls and spoken up in my town hall meetings. 
Oregonians have expressed their fears that Pruitt will steer us into a 
ditch when it comes to protecting the environment and public health. I 
share their concerns, and I cannot support this nomination.
  In my view, the importance of the EPA cannot be overstated. The EPA 
is

[[Page S1371]]

at the heart of maintaining clean air and clean water for every person 
in this country, but Mr. Pruitt has made a career of denying climate 
science, attempting to weaken or even get rid of worker protections, 
air quality standards for toxic air pollutants, and basic environmental 
standards. Those rollbacks would hurt us all.
  One prime example of how the EPA has stepped in to protect Oregonians 
is during a recent air quality scare in Portland. In 2015, researchers 
with the U.S. Forest Service discovered that heavy metals including 
cadmium and arsenic had been emitted for decades into the air of 
Portland neighborhoods and schoolyards at dangerous levels.
  I called on the EPA to take action, and within days they were on the 
ground in Portland, testing the air quality and helping our community 
wrap our heads around the public health risks. It wasn't long before 
they identified the root of the problem and corrected course.
  I am not confident that a Pruitt EPA would have jumped to the aid of 
my community in a time when parents wondered if they had been poisoning 
their own children simply by feeding them vegetables grown in their 
backyards.
  Mr. Pruitt's career is defined by repeated attempts to weaken or 
eliminate health-based environmental standards, weaken or eliminate 
limits on carbon emissions that would help address the challenge of 
climate change, weaken or eliminate air quality standards to fight the 
kinds of toxic air pollutants we saw in Portland. Those rollbacks hurt 
us all.
  Mr. Pruitt has a history of attacking the very Agency he now wants to 
lead. As attorney general of Oklahoma, he has been involved in more 
than 20 lawsuits against the EPA, and he has failed to give Congress 
any kind of assurances that he would recuse himself from matters 
related to those lawsuits.
  Mr. Pruitt has clear connections with big businesses who profit from 
polluting--oil and gas companies and coal-hungry electricity giants, 
among others. He has a history of siding with these special interests 
at the direct expense of the health of our families and communities.
  According to news reports, as Oklahoma's Attorney General and head of 
the Republican Attorneys General Association, Pruitt helped raise 
millions from industries he is now expected to regulate.
  More and more of this shadowy history is coming to light. 
Particularly after a judge has ordered him to release thousands of his 
emails as Oklahoma's Attorney General just days from now, the Senate 
should not hold a vote on a nominee when more information may come to 
light about an alarming association with the very industries he would 
be regulating as head of the EPA.
  However, Mr. Pruitt has until next Tuesday to release those emails--4 
days after Senate Republicans are forcing a confirmation vote. In the 
interest of transparency, the Senators should be able to read these 
emails before voting so we can make a fully informed decision.
  By jamming this nomination through today, Senate Republican 
leadership is forcing the Senate to vote on a nominee without knowing 
the content of the full background of this nominee. In my view, that is 
legislative malpractice.
  So I join my Democratic colleagues in asking that the vote on Mr. 
Pruitt's nomination to lead the EPA be delayed until those thousands of 
emails are released and Members of the Senate have the opportunity to 
review their contents.
  The American people are demanding that Senate leadership delay Mr. 
Pruitt's confirmation until this important information is disclosed and 
questions about his possible conflicts of interest are answered.
  On even the most basic level, Mr. Pruitt has a troubling history. He 
has denied the fundamental science that should be used to inform public 
policy.
  Time and time again, Mr. Pruitt has argued against the reality of 
climate change, going so far as to dispute the EPA's rigorous science-
based finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.
  The EPA cannot be run by an individual with a career founded on 
alternative facts; yet that is much of what Scott Pruitt is promoting.
  As I have said to Oregonians about this nomination and others, 
policymakers ought to come together and find the truth, not fall back 
on alternative facts.
  Nearly 800 former employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency expressed opposition to Pruitt this week in an open letter. 
These are 800 public servants who are dedicated to the Agency's core 
mission.
  I think Oregonians and the American people need to hear what is in 
this letter. It states, in part:

       Our environmental laws are based on a partnership that 
     requires EPA to set national standards attind gives states 
     latitude when implementing them so long as certain minimum 
     criteria are satisfied. This approach recognizes that 
     Americans have an equal right to clean air and water, no 
     matter where they live, and allows states to compete for 
     business without having to sacrifice public health or 
     environmental quality.
       Our environmental laws include provisions directing EPA to 
     allow for a ``margin of safety'' when assessing risks, which 
     is intended to limit exposure to pollutants when it is 
     reasonable to expect they may harm the public health, even 
     when all the scientific evidence is not yet in. For example, 
     EPA's first Administrator, Bill Ruckelshaus, chose to limit 
     the amount of lead in gasoline before all doubt about its 
     harmfulness to public health was erased. His action spared 
     much of the harm that some countries still face as result of 
     the devastating effects of lead on human health. Similarly, 
     early action to reduce exposure to fine particle pollution 
     helped avoid thousands of premature deaths from heart and 
     lung disease. The magnitude and severity of those risks did 
     not become apparent until much later.
       Mr Pruitt's record and public statements strongly suggest 
     that he does not share the vision or agree with the 
     underlying principles of our environmental statutes. Mr. 
     Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing those laws, a 
     critically important function for EPA. While serving as 
     Oklahoma's top law enforcement officer, Mr. Pruitt issued 
     more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn 
     EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, 
     reduce smog levels in cities and regional haze in parks, 
     clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gas 
     emissions.
       In contrast, none of Mr. Pruitt's many press releases refer 
     to any action he has taken to enforce environmental laws or 
     to actually reduce pollution. This track record likely 
     reflects his disturbing decision to close the environmental 
     enforcement unit in his office while establishing a new 
     litigation team to challenge EPA and other federal agencies.

  These former EPA employees close the letter by stating:

       The American people have been served by EPA Administrators, 
     Republicans and Democrats, who have embraced their 
     responsibility to protect public health and the environment. 
     Different administrators have come to different conclusions 
     about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and 
     many of their decisions have been challenged in court, 
     sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far 
     enough. But in the large majority of cases it was evident to 
     us that they put the public's welfare ahead of private 
     interests. Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same 
     commitment.

  I ask unanimous consent that the full letter be printed in the Record 
at the conclusion of my remarks.
  Americans ought to have confidence that the head of the EPA 
recognizes what this job is all about--defending the health of our 
communities, not the profits of energy companies or any other special 
interest; yet Mr. Pruitt has given no such assurance. Like these former 
EPA employees, I would not have that confidence in a Pruitt EPA.
  And now, with the release next Tuesday of thousands of his emails 
that may document an alarming association with the very industries he 
is supposed to regulate, it seems particularly premature, even 
irresponsible, to push for a vote on his confirmation today.
  I share the concerns of the thousands of Oregonians and hundreds of 
current and former EPA employees who have expressed their opposition to 
Mr. Pruitt. I will vote against him today because I do not have 
confidence in a Pruitt EPA.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                February 15, 2017.
     Subject: Concerns about Scott Pruitt's qualifications to 
         serve as EPA Administrator.

     Hon. Ron Wyden,
     Dirksen Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Wyden, We write as former employees of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to share our concerns 
     about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's

[[Page S1372]]

     qualifications to serve as the next EPA Administrator in 
     light of his record in Oklahoma. Our perspective is not 
     partisan. Having served under both Republican and Democratic 
     presidents, we recognize each new Administration's right to 
     pursue different policies within the parameters of existing 
     law and to ask Congress to change the laws that protect 
     public health and the environment as it sees fit.
       However, every EPA Administrator has a fundamental 
     obligation to act in the public's interest based on current 
     law and the best available science. Mr. Pruitt's record 
     raises serious questions about whose interests he has served 
     to date and whether he agrees with the longstanding tenets of 
     U.S. environmental law.
       Our nation has made tremendous progress in ensuring that 
     every American has clean air to breathe, clean water to drink 
     and uncontaminated land on which to live, work and play. 
     Anyone who visits Beijing is reminded of what some cities in 
     the U.S. once looked like before we went to work as a people 
     to combat pollution. Much of EPA's work involves preserving 
     those gains, which should not be taken for granted. There are 
     also emerging new threats as well as serious gaps in our 
     environmental safety net, as the drinking water crisis in 
     Flint, Michigan, painfully demonstrates.
       Our environmental laws are based on a partnership that 
     requires EPA to set national standards and gives states 
     latitude when implementing them so long as certain minimum 
     criteria are satisfied. This approach recognizes that 
     Americans have an equal right to clean air and water, no 
     matter where they live, and allows states to compete for 
     business without having to sacrifice public health or 
     environmental quality.
       Our environmental laws include provisions directing EPA to 
     allow for a ``margin of safety'' when assessing risks, which 
     is intended to limit exposure to pollutants when it is 
     reasonable to expect they may harm the public health, even 
     when all the scientific evidence is not yet in. For example, 
     EPA's first Administrator, Bill Ruckelshaus, chose to limit 
     the amount of lead in gasoline before all doubt about its 
     harmfulness to public health was erased. His action spared 
     much of the harm that some countries still face as result of 
     the devastating effects of lead on human health. Similarly, 
     early action to reduce exposure to fine particle pollution 
     helpedavoid thousands of premature deaths from heart and lung 
     disease. The magnitude and severity of those risks did not 
     become apparent until much later.
       Mr. Pruitt's record and public statements strongly suggest 
     that he does not share the vision or agree with the 
     underlying principles of our environmental statutes. Mr. 
     Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing those laws, a 
     critically important function for EPA. While serving as 
     Oklahoma's top law enforcement officer, Mr. Pruitt issued 
     more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn 
     EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, 
     reduce smog levels in cities and regional haze in parks, 
     clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gas 
     emissions.
       In contrast, none of Mr. Pruitt's many press releases refer 
     to any action he has taken to enforce environmental laws or 
     to actually reduce pollution. This track record likely 
     reflects his disturbing decision to close the environmental 
     enforcement unit in his office while establishing a new 
     litigation team to challenge EPA and other federal agencies. 
     He has claimed credit for an agreement to protect the 
     Illinois River that did little more than confirm phosphorus 
     limits established much earlier, while delaying their 
     enforcement another three years.
       In a similar vein, Mr. Pruitt has gone to disturbing 
     lengths to advance the views and interests of business. For 
     example, he signed and sent a letter as Oklahoma Attorney 
     General criticizing EPA estimates of emissions from oil and 
     gas wells, without disclosing that it had been drafted in its 
     entirety by Devon Energy. He filed suit on behalf of Oklahoma 
     to block a California law requiring humane treatment of 
     poultry. The federal court dismissed the case after finding 
     that the lawsuit was brought not to benefit the citizens of 
     Oklahoma but a handful of large egg producers perfectly 
     capable of representing their own interests. To mount his 
     challenge to EPA's rule to reduce carbon pollution from power 
     plants, he took the unusual step of accepting free help from 
     a private law firm. In contrast, there is little or no 
     evidence of Mr. Pruitt taking initiative to protect and 
     advance public health and environmental protection in his 
     state. Mr. Pruitt's office has apparently acknowledged 3,000 
     emails and other documents reflecting communications with 
     certain oil and gas companies, but has yet to make any of 
     these available in response to a Freedom of Information Act 
     request filed more than two years ago.
       Contrary to the cooperative federalism that he promotes, 
     Mr. Pruitt has suggested that EPA should refrain from trying 
     to control pollution that crosses state lines. For example, 
     he intervened to support a Farm Bureau lawsuit that would 
     have overturned a cooperative agreement between five states 
     and EPA to clean up the Chesapeake Bay (the court rejected 
     the challenge). When asked how a state can protect its 
     citizens from pollution that originates outside its borders, 
     Mr. Pruitt said in his Senate testimony that states should 
     resolve these disputes on their own, with EPA providing 
     ``informational'' support once an agreement is reached. But 
     the 1972 Clean Water Act directs EPA to review state water 
     quality plans, require any improvements needed to make waters 
     ``fishable and swimmable,'' and to review and approve plans 
     to limit pollutant loads to protect water quality. EPA's 
     power to set standards and limit pollution that crosses state 
     lines is exactly what ensures every American clean air and 
     water, and gives states the incentive to negotiate and 
     resolve transboundary disputes.
       We are most concerned about Mr. Pruitt's reluctance to 
     accept and to act on the strong scientific consensus on 
     climate change and act accordingly. Our country's own 
     National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the 
     National Academies of Science and Engineering, concluded in a 
     2010 report requested by Congress that human activity is 
     altering the climate to an extent that poses grave risks to 
     Americans' health and welfare. More recent scientific data 
     and analyses have only confirmed the Council's conclusion and 
     added to the urgency of addressing the problem.
       Despite this and other authoritative warnings about the 
     dangers of climate change, Mr. Pruitt persists in pointing to 
     uncertainty about the precise extent of humanity's 
     contribution to the problem as a basis for resisting taking 
     any regulatory action to help solve it. At his Senate 
     confirmation hearing, he stated that ``science tells us that 
     the climate is changing, and that human activity in some 
     manner impacts that change. The ability to measure with 
     precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to 
     do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, 
     and well it should be.'' This is a familiar dodge--
     emphasizing uncertainty about the precise amount of 
     humanity's contribution while ignoring the broad scientific 
     consensus that human activities are largely responsible for 
     dangerous warming of our planet and that action is urgently 
     needed before it is too late.
       Mr. Pruitt's indulgence in this dodge raises the 
     fundamental question of whether he agrees with the 
     precautionary principle reflected in our nation's 
     environmental statutes. Faithful execution of our 
     environmental laws requires effectively combating climate 
     change to minimize its potentially catastrophic impacts 
     before it is too late.
       The American people have been served by EPA Administrators, 
     Republicans and Democrats, who have embraced their 
     responsibility to protect public health and the environment. 
     Different administrators have come to different conclusions 
     about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and 
     many of their decisions have been challenged in court, 
     sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far 
     enough. But in the large majority of cases it was evident to 
     us that they put the public's welfare ahead of private 
     interests. Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same 
     commitment.
       Thank you for considering our views.
       (All signatories are former EPA employees)

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Madam President, I rise today in strong opposition to 
the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be the Admininstrator of the 
Environmental Protection Administration.
  When looking at Mr. Pruitt's record on environmental issues, it is 
almost hard to know where to start.
  You could examine his history of climate denial, in which he has 
repeatedly rejected the scientific consensus on the threat of climate 
change.
  You could look at his cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry 
during his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma.
  You could argue that Scott Pruitt represents the same corporate 
interests and crony capitalism that have long prevailed inside the 
Beltway.
  You could discuss his refusal to answer basic questions from the 
Environment and Public Works Committee, even as he asks those same 
Senators to vote for his confirmation.
  Any one of these items should be disqualifying for a candidate tasked 
with leading the EPA, but the list of problems with Mr. Pruitt's 
nomination goes even beyond those concerns.
  His nomination threatens the very foundations of the department he 
has been tasked with leading--whether you are talking about the Clean 
Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund Program, or any of the 
other cornerstone environmental protections Americans have long 
enjoyed.
  Scott Pruitt has made a career out of characterizing these 
environmental protections as red-tape, as job-killers, and as 
government overreach.
  That might be good rhetoric when you are arguing on the side of 
corporate polluters, as Mr. Pruitt has spent his career doing.
  It might be good rhetoric when you are trying to mask the significant 
benefits of the laws you are fighting to unravel.
  It might be good rhetoric, but it is not reality. The reality is that 
our Nation's environmental laws are designed to provide basic 
protections for human health and quality of life.

[[Page S1373]]

  But that fact is often obscured by the rhetoric that Mr. Pruitt 
peddles. And since the EPA and many of its foundational laws were 
created decades ago, it can be easy to forget what the world looked 
like before we had strong environmental protections.
  So before we confirm an EPA Administrator intent on dismantling every 
one of those protections, let's do a quick history lesson.
  Democrat, Republican, or Independent, one thing that Americans agree 
on is the need for clean water. In fact, according to a 2016 Gallup 
poll, 61 percent of all Americans are ``a great deal'' worried--not a 
little worried, but a great deal worried--about pollution of drinking 
water, and 56 percent of all Americans are ``a great deal'' worried--
again, a great deal worried--about the pollution of rivers, lakes, and 
reservoirs.
  Among hunters and anglers, a group that many of my friends across the 
aisle claim to champion, those numbers are even more dramatic. A 2015 
poll found that nearly 90 percent thought that the Clean Water Act was 
a good thing, and 75 percent supported the application of the Clean 
Water Act to headwater streams and wetlands.
  Now, at a time when a strong majority of Americans are so concerned 
about the quality of their drinking water and the cleanliness of 
waterways across the country and support the application and 
enforcement of the Clean Water Act, it seems that we should be working 
to strengthen the protections that keep our water clean.
  But that is not what Scott Pruitt has done, and it is not what he 
will do if we allow him to become the Administrator of the EPA. No, 
instead Scott Pruitt has worked tirelessly to gut the Clean Water Act.
  His lawsuits have sought to undermine the fundamental protections 
afforded to our waterways to the detriment of the health of our 
families and our environment.
  He has sued to prevent the Clean Water Rule, a court-ordered 
clarification of the protections of the Clean Water Act, from going 
into effect.
  He has joined lawsuits and filed briefs to make it easier for mining 
companies to dump waste and fill material anywhere they want, 
destroying mountain streams and negatively impacting water quality.
  Scott Pruitt didn't feel that the EPA should even have the authority 
to conduct a survey about industrial farming practices that can 
generate toxic runoff that could find its way into our rivers and 
streams and drinking water resources.
  He has even joined big polluters in a lawsuit against a collaborative 
effort by Chesapeake Bay States and the EPA to clean up the bay, 
despite the fact that it had nothing to do with Oklahoma.
  I think that Mr. Pruitt's views can best be summed up in his own 
words. He claims that, ``the EPA was never intended to be our Nation's 
frontline environmental regulator.''
  Well, I have news for Scott Pruitt. When the EPA doesn't lead, cost-
cutting measures undertaken by a State can lead to thousands of 
Americans being poisoned by lead in their water. When the EPA doesn't 
lead, polluters, blinded by the pursuit of profit above all else, can 
dump unlimited and unregulated amounts of pollution into our water.
  This isn't speculation. We have seen it before. The Clean Water Act 
was passed in 1972 in large part due to public outrage after the 
Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969. Yes, the river caught fire. This 
sounds outlandish and incredible to us today, but perhaps even more 
astounding is the fact that this was not necessarily abnormal. It 
wasn't the result of some single incident or accidental spill. This was 
the result of years of pollution and unsound practices employed by many 
different industries across the economic spectrum.
  The Washington Post notes that the Cuyahoga burned at least 13 times, 
and that is just one river. River fires were recorded in Maryland, 
Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and other States as well. So it 
becomes clear that this was a pervasive problem, and a national 
problem, and a problem that had to be addressed on the national level. 
And we did address it largely through the Clean Water Act, but we have 
to continue that progress, not roll it back. Even now, in places like 
China, where strong federal clean water laws don't exist, these river 
fires still occur.
  Scott Pruitt calls himself an ``advocate against the EPA's activist 
agenda.''
  If fighting for clean water is an activist agenda; if enforcing sound 
environmental practices that safeguard public health is an activist 
agenda; if protecting wetlands that not only provide critical wildlife 
habitat, but also act as vital buffers that protect our communities 
from flooding, is an activist agenda; well, then I guess you can call 
me an activist, and his record has shown that Scott Pruitt is anything 
but. And his attacks on the Clean Water Act aren't unique. Mr. Pruitt 
has sued the EPA time and again in an effort to dismantle the Clean Air 
Act.
  The Clean Air Act was enacted in 1970, at a time that many of our 
Nation's cities and industrial regions were blanketed in smog. In the 
47 years since the passage of the law, the Clean Air Act has proven to 
be one of the most effective public health measures ever taken in this 
country. Under the Clean Air Act, we have achieved 70 percent 
reductions in the levels of six of the most dangerous air pollutants.
  Under the Clean Air Act, new heavy-duty trucks and buses became 99 
percent cleaner than those vehicles were in the 1970s. Under the Clean 
Air Act, lead was banned from gasoline, ending a significant health 
risk--one that was particularly dangerous for children. It was the 
Clean Air Act that gave us the tools to drastically cut the pollutants 
that cause acid rain. The Clean Air Act helps to protect downwind 
States like New Jersey from pollution emitted by power plants in other 
States. The Clean Air Act has been used to phase out pollutants that 
destroy the ozone layer, yielding significant health benefits including 
a reduction in skin cancer. The Clean Air Act has been used to reduce 
mercury from power plants, preventing tens of thousands of premature 
deaths, heart attacks, and asthma attacks. The Clean Air Act has helped 
reduce pollution at our National Parks, supporting tourism and local 
economies across the country. And in 2007, the Supreme Court affirmed 
the Clean Air Act's role in the environmental crisis of our time, the 
fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect against the threat 
of climate change.
  It is worth noting that, since the Clean Air Act became law, the 
Nation's gross domestic product grew by 246 percent--so much for job-
killing regulations.
  But in spite of these benefits, benefits that accrue to every 
American and benefits that save lives and reduce disease, Scott Pruitt 
has a record a mile long trying to dismantle the Clean Air Act.
  He sued the EPA over cross-state air pollution rules. He sued the EPA 
over mercury and air toxin limits. He sued the EPA when they tried to 
reduce smog. He sued the EPA when they limited pollution in national 
parks. And he sued the EPA when they proposed limiting carbon pollution 
from power plants.
  Mr. Pruitt's record has repeatedly demonstrated that he has no 
interest in maintaining basic environmental standards. I have no reason 
to believe that he would behave any differently if confirmed as EPA 
Administrator. But Scott Pruitt's disdain for the EPA goes beyond even 
the lawsuits he filed.
  In questions for the record for the Environment and Public Works 
Committee, Mr. Pruitt was asked to name even one EPA regulation he 
supported and he couldn't name even one.
  He wasn't put on the spot. These were written questions, which Mr. 
Pruitt had ample time to consider and answer. And yet he couldn't 
produce a single example of an EPA standard he supported.
  An EPA standard that immediately comes to my mind is Superfund--a 
bipartisan program committed to ensuring that polluters pay to clean up 
their toxic dump sites.
  New Jersey has the most Superfund sites of any State in the Nation--
114 total. These sites threaten public health, stifle economic 
opportunity, and undermine quality of life.
  They are a toxic legacy from a time when we had no watchdog to 
prevent corporations from dumping their waste into our soil or our 
water.
  Today there are over 1,300 Superfund sites throughout the Nation--13 
sites in

[[Page S1374]]

Alabama, 37 sites in Wisconsin, 53 sites in Florida, and even 7 sites 
in Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt's home State.
  This is a problem that transcends geographic and partisan divides. It 
is a challenge we should be united in our commitment to fixing. Yet Mr. 
Pruitt wouldn't even cite Superfund as an example of an EPA regulation 
he supported. If he doesn't support the program, how can we trust him 
to implement it?
  EPA is absolutely critical in bringing the companies responsible for 
pollution to the table, creating strategies for cleaning up these 
sites, and overseeing the clean-ups themselves.
  How can we trust Mr. Pruitt to negotiate on behalf of our communities 
if he can't even bring himself to admit the value of the law?
  The fact that a program as basic and bipartisan as Superfund didn't 
garner Scott Pruitt's support should be of concern to us all.
  The U.S. has many environmental challenges left to confront, but we 
have also made a lot of progress since the days before we had strong 
environmental protections.
  We can't turn back the clock to the days when rivers caught on fire, 
when smog choked our cities, and when corporations were free to dump 
unlimited chemicals into the soil and water. Yet, that is exactly what 
Scott Pruitt has spent his career doing. His tenure as Oklahoma 
Attorney General provides example after example of legal actions taken 
on behalf of moneyed corporate polluters, but he failed to provide even 
one real example of action he took against polluters on behalf of the 
people of Oklahoma.
  I take my responsibility to provide advice and consent to the 
President on his nominees very seriously, and as I have looked into Mr. 
Pruitt's record, one thing has become abundantly clear. Scott Pruitt 
doesn't work for you. He works for the polluting industries that have 
bankrolled his political career. His nomination to head the EPA poses 
significant risk to our Nation's most basic environmental protections.
  Protections like the Superfund program, the Clean Air Act, and the 
Clean Water Act have provided a legacy of health and wellness for 
millions of Americans. And time and time again, Mr. Pruitt has proven 
untrustworthy as a protector of that legacy.
  For that reason, I oppose his nomination as Administrator of the EPA 
and urge my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. BROWN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be able to 
be speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                              Agriculture

  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service is one of the best opportunities we have--and some of the best 
stewards we have for caring for lands in Kansas are our farmers and 
ranchers. What a great combination in the public-private partnership 
when we work together to improve our water quality and quantity, work 
to make sure our air is cleaner, make certain, as best we can, that the 
dust doesn't blow in Kansas.
  While we talk about environmental issues, I want to mention the work 
that goes on in my home State and places across the country with a 
partnership that occurs by the Department of Agriculture--USDA--its 
agency, the NRCS, and landowners in my State.
  I want to highlight the circumstances those farmers and ranchers find 
themselves in today. In 2016, the price of wheat hit a decade low. 
Wheat prices fell from a high of $7.60 a bushel in 2013 to $4.11 per 
bushel in 2016, from $7.60 to $4.11 in just a short period of time.
  Unfortunately, those prices have continued to stay low. Often in 
Kansas, when commodity prices are a challenge for those who raise 
crops, we are able to supplement our income by the price of cattle--our 
ability to raise quality beef and to sell that in markets and to 
compensate for the challenges that occur on the crop side of 
agriculture.
  Unfortunately, the same thing has happened in the livestock market as 
well. Live cattle prices dropped from $166 per hundredweight in January 
of 2015 to $132 per hundredweight in January of 2016; again, a fall 
from $166 to $132.
  Those things combined, low commodity prices, low price for wheat, low 
prices for cattle, mean that agriculture in rural America is hurting 
greatly. This is a tremendous challenge and appearing to be perhaps the 
most difficult time that agriculture producers, farmers, and ranchers 
face in the Midwest since the thirties.
  I have come to speak about this today. Senator Roberts, the chairman 
who chairs the Agriculture Committee, is having a hearing of the 
Agriculture Committee in Kansas during the next few days. I appreciate 
the opportunity he is providing Kansans to have input as the process 
begins for a new farm bill. I congratulate him and welcome the input 
that everyday folks who earn a living in agriculture will have as a 
result of his efforts.

  What I want to highlight today is that with the circumstances so 
challenging, we need to do things that reduce the input cost associated 
with production agriculture. But the focus I want to make today is that 
we need every market possible for our farmers and ranchers to sell 
into. Ninety-five percent of the mouths to feed, 95 percent of the 
consumers are outside the United States, and our ability to survive in 
agriculture in Kansas and this country is related to our ability to 
export those agriculture commodities, as well as food products, around 
the globe.
  In the confirmation hearings that I have been involved in based upon 
my committee assignments and in addition to conversations with the 
nominee to be the Secretary of Agriculture, Governor Perdue, I have 
highlighted time and time again the importance of exports.
  If we face this struggle--a struggle we do absolutely face today--a 
way we can help improve that circumstance is to sell more grains, more 
meat products, more beef, more pork into foreign country markets. It is 
not happening the way it needs to happen to lift the prices and 
therefore increase the chances that farmers and ranchers will survive 
the difficult and challenging economic circumstances.
  I almost said ``as an aside.'' Let me mention another challenge. It 
really isn't an aside, it is so important. We have difficult times in 
agriculture. It is a cyclical world, and prices are up and prices are 
down based upon the laws of supply and demand. But in difficult times, 
we have always in the past been able to count upon a lender, a banker 
who is willing to help that farmer, that rancher get through difficult 
times.
  The regulatory environment our bankers now face, particularly in 
rural communities where there is a relationship--we often operate in 
banks in my State, and certainly in rural communities across Kansas, as 
a result of a relationship. So our bankers--those who lend money to 
farmers--know those farmers. They know their families. They know their 
parents, their grandparents. They were the financier. They were the 
ones able to lend working capital to farmers in good times and bad.
  Our regulators and I have visited with the Officer of the Comptroller 
of the Currency, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, the state banking 
commissioner in our State, all with the message that in these difficult 
times, we can't let the consequences of Dodd-Frank overwhelm the 
ability for a banker to continue to make decisions about lending money 
to agriculture producers. We can't let the authority of making that 
decision, based upon long generations of relationships between those in 
agriculture and those in financing agriculture, be overcome by the 
rules and regulations that followed the passage of Dodd-Frank, 
particularly as it relates to those relationships with community banks 
and lenders.
  So while it is challenging in agriculture due to the prices, one of 
the reasons we have been able to survive over the years in low-price 
times is because of that relationship and understanding.
  I know this farm family--this is the banker talking--I know this farm 
family, and I have lent money to them for a long time. I lent money to 
their father or their grandfather, their mother

[[Page S1375]]

or their grandmother. They have the integrity, the character, and the 
ability to repay.
  If the lending in rural America becomes nothing more than a computer 
program in which you punch in the numbers and character becomes 
something that is irrelevant--there is not a computer program to 
measure character. If we lose the opportunity for a relationship 
developed between a lender and a farmer, we lose the ability to make 
things work in difficult times. Those times are with us.
  The primary point I would like to make today is that we need exports 
and we need them now. And while there is always a debate about the 
value of a particular trade agreement--and that debate is useful--we 
ought never lose sight that there is no real debate about the value of 
exports. So we need to put in place the mechanisms that allow farmers 
and ranchers and others in my State to be able to export a product 
around the globe.
  I would encourage the administration and I would encourage Members of 
Congress, as we develop our policies in this new session, to make 
certain that exports are front and center in our economic policy 
because the survival of the folks I represent in Kansas and the 
communities in which they live is in jeopardy if we don't get those 
markets back and if we don't retain those markets.
  Exports are important to us. We can't afford not to pursue each and 
every one of them. If we are not going to have multilateral trade 
agreements, we need to have bilateral trade agreements, and we can't 
wait very long for those agreements to take place.
  Again, 95 percent of the consumers live outside the United States, 
and our ability in Kansas to have a bright future is determined by the 
ability to connect with those consumers outside the United States.
  If I can take just one more moment to also point out that I have 
requested USAID and the Department of Agriculture in our food and 
hunger programs around the globe to increase the role that wheat and 
other commodities play in feeding a hungry world. We want to sell 
commodities in the export market, but as we develop our programs to 
combat hunger, we can get something that is very noble and something 
very valuable--helping people around the globe be able to go to bed 
with a full stomach is a desirable and noble goal, and the utilization 
of an increasing amount of agriculture or commodities grown in the 
United States in that effort would benefit farmers in our country, as 
well. It is the proverbial win/win. The noble accomplishment of helping 
people fight back food insecurity and at the same time creating an 
additional opportunity for the export of wheat, for example, which, 
because of significant amounts of harvest, is in an overabundant 
supply--is in abundant supply here in the United States.
  Madam President, thank you for the opportunity to visit with my 
colleagues here on the Senate floor today and to express the desire to 
work with each of them as we develop the efforts to make certain that 
exports are front and center, particularly as they relate to 
agricultural interest of the United States.
  Madam President, I yield my time.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Madam President, my friend from Kansas is here. A lot of 
people around the country think there is probably not much we agree on. 
I want to say that I agree with just about everything the Senator from 
Kansas just said. And the fact that 95 percent of the world's markets 
are outside of our borders--if we lose sight of that, forget about the 
value of exports; we make a huge mistake.
  I was a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I believe the 
Senator from Kansas was, as well. Some people are saying: Well, we need 
to forget all about that, and what we need to do is renegotiate NAFTA.
  In the context of negotiating the transpacific trade agreement, we 
negotiated NAFTA. I hope you won't throw out that baby with the bath 
water as we go forward.
  I commend the Senator for his remarks and say how much I enjoyed 
working with him on many issues. I hope to work with him again.
  Madam President, I mentioned earlier today before the Presiding 
Officer took the chair that I received a lot of letters, emails, phone 
calls, and faxes from Delawareans who are concerned about the 
nomination of Mr. Pruitt to lead the EPA. As of today, my office has 
received a total of 7 letters supporting Mr. Pruitt's nomination and we 
have received 1,880 letters opposing his nomination--remarkable 
numbers. Please compare this number to the 278 letters my office 
received opposing the nomination of Congressman Tom Price to lead the 
Department of Health and Human Services. That is pretty amazing. The 
Republican nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, 
278 letters against; Mr. Pruitt, 1,880 letters and emails against. 
Delawareans are clearly paying attention, and they are clearly 
concerned by the idea of Mr. Pruitt being charged with safeguarding our 
environment and our health.
  I want to take a moment to read a letter sent to me--I have gotten a 
lot of letters--a letter sent to me last week from a woman named 
Danielle D., a new mother and small business owner who lives in 
Wilmington with her infant son. Danielle wrote to me because her 
concerns go beyond politics and to the core values of giving our 
children the best lives possible. Danielle writes:

       Dear Senator Carper, I am reaching out to you today as both 
     a new mother and a small business owner urging you to oppose 
     Scott Pruitt's nomination as Administrator of the U.S. 
     Environmental Protection Agency.
       As a business owner, I support a number of President 
     Trump's cabinet nominations and many of his pro-business 
     policies. But there are very few policy decisions that touch 
     every facet of our lives like environmental policies do. Our 
     environment affects our health, our economy and our everyday 
     lives. The decisions we now make will affect Americans for 
     generations to come.

  She goes on to say:

       My son is 5 months old. Like any parent, I can only hope I 
     am able to advance my son's life by leaps and bounds, as my 
     parents did for me.
       However, I am extremely concerned that, should Mr. Pruitt 
     be chosen as the next Administrator of the EPA, the decisions 
     we make today will make it nearly impossible for me to leave 
     my son a better environment than the one I brought him into.
       In short, we need an EPA Administrator who will work to 
     prove America is the best when it comes to environmental 
     policy. Mr. Pruitt is not that person.

  I share this letter today so that our colleagues know that my 
constituents and, indeed, Americans across the country do care deeply 
about the person who will lead the EPA, although they may support other 
nominees of President Trump. Those who have contacted us want to know 
that the individual leading the EPA is on their side and that the first 
question that person will ask is, How will this affect the environment 
and how will this affect the health of the least of these, like 
Danielle's 5-month-old son?
  Clearly, thousands upon thousands are afraid or fearful that Scott 
Pruitt doesn't care to ask those questions and that he will not be an 
advocate for the American people whom the EPA is charged with 
protecting. I share their concerns.
  I yield the floor and reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, I rise in support of Attorney General 
Scott Pruitt to be the next Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency, and I think it is important, as we are continuing 
this debate, to make a couple of things perfectly clear.
  We all, like the Senator from Delaware who has been leading the 
debate, believe in clean water, clean air, how important that is to all 
Americans, certainly important to my State, which has some of the 
cleanest water, cleanest air, the most pristine environment in the 
world. I certainly don't think any of us debate that. We all agree on 
properly disposing of waste and cleaning up contaminated sites. And 
just this past year, Congress passed very dramatic legislation, very 
important--bipartisan, by the way; I am on the Environment and Public 
Works Committee--the Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA, which does 
that. And I think most of us agree that the EPA has an important role 
in ensuring that we have clean water--within the authority granted to 
that Agency by Congress. So I think the vast majority of this body 
agrees with that.
  But as I have been listening to my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle and their criticism of Attorney General

[[Page S1376]]

Scott Pruitt, one thing that has not come up over the past 24 hours in 
this debate--as a matter of fact, on the EPW Committee, on which I sit, 
the past 2 years, I don't think I heard my colleagues on the other side 
of the aisle ever talk about this issue, and it is a very important 
issue for the country. It is the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.
  We have been debating Scott Pruitt's nomination for a while now, but 
not one of my colleagues has uttered that phrase--not one--even though 
many of my colleagues are lawyers and former law professors and former 
attorneys general themselves.
  Why is this important? Why is it important to have a debate on the 
rule of law when we are looking at Scott Pruitt's nomination?
  Well, I think it is incredibly important because if you looked at the 
EPA's actions and activities and focus over the last 8 years--the last 
8 years--it has not been an Agency that has focused on the rule of law. 
In many ways it has been a lawless Agency, a rogue Agency. So when we 
are having this debate, we need to put the debate of Scott Pruitt's 
nomination and confirmation in the context of what has happened over 
the last 8 years.
  We have had an Agency in the EPA that does not listen to States, even 
though it is required to by Federal law; that ignores the rule of law, 
as evidenced by numerous Federal court decisions rebuking it; and that 
believes it has the power to regulate every nook and cranny of American 
life--every economic activity of America. That is literally what we 
have right now with regard to our current EPA. This is not just one 
Senator making this claim. It has become the conventional wisdom and 
the common narrative with regard to this EPA in the last 8 years by a 
variety of Federal courts and law professors throughout the country.
  Let me provide a few examples. A number of my colleagues have talked 
about the waters of the United States rule, WOTUS, and how this 
aggressive, far-reaching rule claims authority--the EPA claims 
authority to regulate literally puddles and irrigation ditches 
throughout the country, an enormous power grab.
  A number of us were concerned about this. In hearings and in letters, 
I asked the previous EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, where she got 
the legal authority to do this. It was a pretty big deal. It took 
months to get an answer. States, under the law, are supposed to be 
consulted on this issue. States like my State, the great State of 
Alaska, were not consulted. They were ignored.
  So what happened? What happened? Thirty-two States--bipartisan by the 
way, including Alaska--sued the EPA over this law, over this 
regulation, the waters of the United States. This is a critical point. 
``Cooperative federalism,'' another term I have heard very little of in 
this debate, is the bedrock of environmental laws like the Clean Water 
Act and the Clean Air Act. The principle establishes that the States 
and the EPA are partners. Indeed, under these Federal laws, the States 
are the primary protectors and implementers of our environmental 
protection laws.
  That is in the law. That is in the Federal law. But for the past 8 
years, the EPA has consistently ignored this on major rules. The most 
dramatic is right here, the waters of the United States. Thirty-two 
States sued to stop the EPA on this regulation. What happened in the 
lawsuit? The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on the entire 
rule, expressing serious doubts about its legality. That is one 
instance and a big deal.
  Let's look at another one, the so-called Clean Power Plan. I know the 
Presiding Officer has talked this, about how it is very concerning for 
her State of West Virginia. Whatever your views are on climate change 
and the appropriate response, there should no debate in this body that 
we have to address this issue in a way that is consistent with the U.S. 
Constitution and rule of law--no debate.
  Again, I never hear anyone talk about the rule of law on the other 
side. So this rule is promulgated. Once again, the Environmental 
Protection Agency, in the promulgation of this rule, took actions that 
the court and commentators across the political spectrum viewed as 
likely another illegal rule by the EPA.
  So, like the waters of the United States rule, numerous States and 
others sued to stop the Clean Power Plan, in which the Environmental 
Protection Agency claimed somehow they had the authority to regulate 
almost the entire U.S. energy sector. Look at the rule. That is what 
they are claiming, that Congress somehow gave them that power.
  In a previous Supreme Court case called Utility Air Regulatory Group, 
which was a lawsuit against the EPA--at the time I was serving as 
attorney general for the State of Alaska and was one of the AGs who 
initiated this suit--the EPA lost that one, and the Supreme Court and 
Justice Scalia, in writing the majority opinion stated:

       When an agency, the EPA, claims to discover in a long 
     extant statute an unheralded power to regulate a significant 
     portion of the American economy, we typically greet its 
     announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress 
     to speak clearly if it wishes to assign an agency decisions 
     of vast economic and political significance.

  In other words: EPA, you didn't have the power to regulate a huge 
swath of the American economy. The Supreme Court struck that down--
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency--so it 
was not surprising that with regard to the Clean Power Plan regulation, 
the Supreme Court of the United States put a stay on that rule. The 
Supreme Court of the United States put a stay on that rule before any 
other court, any other lower court, a district court, a court of 
appeals, had heard the arguments on that rule. Think about that. Do you 
know how many times the U.S. history that has happened? Do you know how 
many times in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court that has happened? 
Never before. It was the first time in the history of the Supreme Court 
that it saw a rule that it probably felt was so egregious that it put a 
stay on it before any other court ruled on that rule. It was pretty 
dramatic, pretty remarkable.

  Clearly, the U.S. Supreme Court has serious doubts about whether the 
EPA is acting in a lawful manner on the Clean Power Plan. If you think 
it is just conservative jurists and lawyers and Senators who hold that 
view, you would be mistaken. Here is what Laurence Tribe said about the 
EPA's authority with regard to the Clean Power Plan.
  For those of you who don't know Laurence Tribe, he is a very well-
respected constitutional law professor at Harvard but very liberal. He 
was President Obama's law professor, but he is well-respected. Here is 
what he said about the EPA's authority on this very important 
regulation. He wrote in challenging the Clean Power Plan:

       Even more fundamentally, the EPA, like every administrative 
     agency is constitutionally forbidden to exercise powers 
     Congress never delegated to it in the first place. The brute 
     fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate 
     legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though 
     it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the 
     nation's electrical generating system and power grid. It does 
     not have this power.

  That is Laurence Tribe. He later testified in front of the House 
Energy and Commerce Committee in 2015 with regard to this regulation:

       The EPA is attempting to exercise lawmaking power that 
     belongs to Congress and the judicial power that belongs to 
     the Federal courts. Burning the Constitution should not be 
     part of our national energy policy. EPA is attempting an 
     unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the 
     States, Congress and the Federal courts all at once.

  That is Laurence Tribe. That is Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, who 
believes EPA is clearly acting in an unconstitutional manner.
  It is not just losing in court and in the realm of both conservative 
and liberal leagues of public opinion; it has been the way that the EPA 
leadership, from the top to its foot soldiers, has treated the American 
people over the last 8 years--the American people whom the 
Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to serve.
  That treatment can be described in many ways as with disdain. Let me 
provide a few examples of that. On the eve of another Supreme Court 
case, which the EPA lost--this is EPA v. Michigan--EPA Administrator 
Gina McCarthy was asked on a TV show, Did she think she was going to 
win the case?
  She responded as you would think most Administrators would. She said

[[Page S1377]]

yes, she was going to win. OK. That is fine. She probably believed it 
and had good lawyers telling her that. But then she went on to say 
this:

       But even if we don't [win], it was 3 years ago. Most of 
     [the companies] are already in compliance, investments have 
     been made, and we'll catch up.

  Think about that quote. This is the head of the EPA, essentially 
saying: Even if we lose, we win. We are the Federal Government. We 
don't have to abide by the law. Those companies and American citizens 
who are abiding by the law, who are abiding by the regulations, they 
have already made investments--hundreds of millions. They are stuck. We 
win. Heads we win, tails we win. That is a remarkable statement by the 
leader of a Federal Agency who shows disdain for the law.
  Let me give you another example. My colleague and good friend from 
Colorado came down and talked about the Animas River and what happened 
there. Clearly it was a mistake. I don't believe that the EPA meant to 
do that, to spill millions of gallons of toxic waste into a river. But 
in a hearing in the EPW Committee, I asked the Administrator: Well, are 
you going to hold the EPA officials who did that to the same standard 
you would the private sector? In the private sector, in similar kinds 
of activities, the EPA has actually criminally charged people for doing 
something like that--negligence--criminally charged them.
  She looked at me and said: Senator, not only are we going to hold 
ourselves to that standard, we are going to hold ourselves to a higher 
standard.
  OK. That is a pretty good answer.
  So what has happened on the Animas River, with the EPA holding 
themselves to a higher standard? Remember, they put people in jail for 
doing this. Was anyone held responsible? Was anyone criminally charged? 
Did anyone go to jail?
  Of course not. Nothing happened.
  In my State, the EPA's disdain for my constituents has manifested 
itself in a couple of remarkable ways. First, we had the Administrator, 
former Administrator Gina McCarthy, in Alaska visiting after she came 
into office.
  There was a big Wall Street Journal article on her visit. She was 
given some gifts by Alaskans, my constituents, the people she serves. 
When she was given gifts from my constituents on her visit to my State, 
she was later asked by a reporter what she did with them according to 
the government ethics rules.
  Here is a quote from that story:

       [Gina McCarthy] has been surprised by the government ethics 
     bureaucracy and its gift guidelines. Remarking how officials 
     chased her down for a dinky North Pole--

  That is a community in Alaska--

       pin someone gave her at an event as a gift (``I threw the 
     f-ing thing away,'' she told them).

  With regard to another gift she got, a jar of moose meat from a young 
girl at a hearing in Alaska, she said that gift ``could gag a maggot.''
  This was the leader of an Agency serving the people, and yet she was 
doing it in a way that is clearly disrespectful.
  Let me talk about another incident in Alaska, in a place called 
Chicken, AK, where we have plaster miners out mining--small mining 
operations, family businesses, mining for gold.
  The EPA thought there was going to be some Clean Water Act 
violations, which they never found. So what did they do? They didn't 
talk to the local community. They did a raid--body armor, assault 
weapons--on my constituents, a raid, a military assault to find clean 
water violations, which they never found, and they never apologized for 
the raid.
  Now, you might ask: What does all this have to do with the nomination 
of Attorney General Pruitt? My answer is: Everything; everything.
  He understands that the EPA needs a serious course correction, that 
it must get back to listening to the States and following the rule of 
law and, most importantly, regaining the trust of the American people, 
which has been lost over the last 8 years due to some of the actions I 
just described.
  The American people see this. They see statements like this, and they 
know this has been an Agency that has not been acting in their 
interests and has not been acting according to the law.
  Not only does Attorney General Pruitt understand this, he emphasized 
this during his confirmation hearing--6 hours long, which I sat through 
the entire thing.
  Let me conclude by reading a few excerpts of his opening statement. 
The American people need to hear this because this is what Attorney 
General Pruitt is going to do when he leads the EPA. He said his 
priorities were:
  First, under our Constitution, the role the EPA plays in protecting 
the environment is defined by statute, just as statutes limit every 
Federal Agency.
  Members of this body--the Senate--and the House of Representatives 
have worked tirelessly over decades to set the balance in environmental 
policies through laws that have been passed. The EPA's role is to 
administer those laws faithfully.
  As attorney general of Oklahoma, he stated: I saw examples where the 
Agency became dissatisfied with the tools Congress had given it to 
address certain issues and bootstrapped its own powers and tools 
through rulemaking. This, unfortunately, has only resulted in 
protracted litigation, where the courts suspended most of these rules 
after years of delay.
  In the meantime, we lost the opportunity for true environmental 
protection as a nation. This approach is not right. So getting back to 
the rule of law, that is No. 1 for Attorney General Pruitt.
  Second, he said:

       Cooperative federalism must be respected and applied by the 
     EPA with regard to our environmental laws. Congress has 
     wisely and appropriately directed the EPA through our 
     environmental statutes to utilize the expertise and resources 
     of the States to better protect the environment, and for the 
     States to remain our nation's frontline environmental 
     implementers and enforcers. If we truly want to advance and 
     achieve cleaner air and water the States must be partners and 
     not mere passive instruments of federal will. If confirmed, I 
     will utilize the relationships I have forged with my 
     counterparts in the States to ensure that EPA returns to its 
     proper role, rather than using a heavy hand to coerce the 
     States into effectuating EPA policies.

  Cooperative federalism--that is in the law, and he wants to uphold 
it.
  Third, and finally, he said:

       It is critical to me that EPA also truly listen to the 
     diverse views of the American people, and learn from them. If 
     confirmed as Administrator, I am committed to ensuring EPA's 
     decisions are conducted through open processes that take into 
     account the full range of views of the American people, 
     including the economic consequences of any regulation.
       Environmental regulations should not occur in an economic 
     vacuum. We can simultaneously pursue the mutual goals of 
     environmental protection and economic growth. But that can 
     only happen if EPA listens--listens to the views of all 
     interested stakeholders, including the States, so that it can 
     determine how to realize its mission while considering the 
     pragmatic impacts of its decisions on jobs, communities, and 
     most importantly, families.

  Finally, in the closing of his opening statement, Attorney General 
Pruitt said this:

       My time as Attorney General of Oklahoma afforded me the 
     opportunity to travel my state meeting farmers, ranchers, 
     landowners, and small business owners of all sorts. These are 
     good people--hardworking Americans who want to do the right 
     thing by the environment. They want the air that their 
     children breathe and the waters in which they swim to be 
     clean. They want to follow the law. But recently they have 
     felt hopeless, subject to a never ending torrent of new 
     regulations that only a lawyer can understand. They fear the 
     EPA, and that just shouldn't be the case. If confirmed, I 
     will work tirelessly to ensure that the EPA acts lawfully, 
     sensibly, and with those hardworking Americans ever in mind.

  That is how he ended his testimony.
  Scott Pruitt is the right person to lead the EPA. We have gotten to 
the point, as he noted in his testimony, where millions of Americans, 
including some of my constituents in Chicken, AK, certainly have come 
to fear their own Federal Government, especially when it acts in a 
lawless fashion.
  He is exactly the right person, with the right qualifications and the 
right emphasis to fix this problem, and I encourage all of my 
colleagues to support the confirmation vote we are going to make on him 
in a few hours.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Madam President, no one wants to live on a dirty planet. 
Before we created the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, nearly 
50 years ago, rivers actually caught fire from pollution, smog covered 
our cities, and powerplants spewed arsenic

[[Page S1378]]

and mercury into the sky with impunity.
  In the years since, the EPA has been at the vanguard of the effort to 
protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
  This work is not easy, and the person who leads the EPA has a tough 
job. It requires toughness and fortitude to fight back against 
polluters and special interests.
  In all the years the EPA has been around, we would be hard-pressed to 
find someone more hostile to the Agency's fundamental mission or as 
less suited to leading it than Scott Pruitt is.
  As Oklahoma's attorney general, Mr. Pruitt organized, led, or 
participated in virtually every challenge to the EPA's work during his 
time in office. His lawsuits have, among other things, sought to 
prevent the EPA from enforcing rules that keep our water safe, protect 
our air from harmful pollutants, like mercury and arsenic, and limit 
the carbon pollution that causes climate change.
  These lawsuits beg the question: Does Scott Pruitt believe the EPA 
should even exist? In the weeks and months since he was nominated, Mr. 
Pruitt has gone out of his way to try and smooth over his record and 
say what he thinks we want to hear, but we can't fall for it.
  Instead of listening to what he is saying now, let's examine more 
closely what he has done as Oklahoma's attorney general.
  His record is troubling. Throughout his term of office, Mr. Pruitt 
has been very cozy with fossil fuel companies and affiliated interest 
groups.
  A 2014 investigation by the New York Times revealed that energy 
lobbyists drafted letters for Mr. Pruitt to send on State stationary to 
the EPA against the Obama administration's environmental regulations.
  The CEO of Continental Energy--an oil and gas company based in 
Oklahoma--served as the campaign chairman for his reelection bid. We 
just got word yesterday that a State district judge in Oklahoma ordered 
the attorney general's office to turn over as many as 3,000 documents 
related to Mr. Pruitt's communications with oil, gas, and coal groups 
during his time in office. Unfortunately, we will not get a chance to 
see what these documents reveal before voting on his confirmation.
  Based on his record and associations, however, I think we can make an 
educated guess that these documents will reveal the extent of Mr. 
Pruitt's ties to fossil fuel interests, and we have no reason to 
believe he will renounce these connections if confirmed to serve as EPA 
Administrator.
  He also fought relentlessly against the EPA's efforts to establish 
basic limits on smog, arsenic, mercury, and other dangerous air 
pollutants.
  Mr. Pruitt, for example, sued the EPA not once but twice to overturn 
the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. These standards would prevent 
40,000 pounds of mercury emissions every year and would help keep our 
food supply safe from contamination.
  Mr. Pruitt has also repeatedly questioned whether climate change is 
real.
  In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Mr. Pruitt refused to accept 
settled science that humans contribute to climate change. He said there 
are ``a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man 
contributes to climate change.''
  In the National Review, Mr. Pruitt said ``scientists continue to 
disagree about the degree and extent of global warming.''
  The fact is, 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is 
real and that human beings contribute to it. I hardly think 97 percent 
of scientists agreeing constitutes a wide range of viewpoints on 
climate change and the extent to which man contributes to it.
  From his perch as Oklahoma's attorney general, Mr. Pruitt sued to 
prevent President Obama's Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from 
taking effect. He argued that the Federal Government doesn't have the 
authority to regulate carbon emissions. This is wrong.
  The Supreme Court ruled twice--first in Massachusetts v. EPA in 2007 
and again in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA in 2014--that the EPA 
has the authority to regulate carbon emissions as pollution under the 
Clean Air Act.
  If confirmed, Mr. Pruitt has promised to kill the Clean Power Plan 
and undo much of the positive work that President Obama did to address 
climate change.
  Mr. Pruitt also has a track record of undermining enforcement of 
environmental laws and regulations. Shortly after becoming Oklahoma's 
attorney general in 2010, Mr. Pruitt gave us a taste of what is to come 
at the EPA when he eliminated the Environmental Protection Unit within 
the Oklahoma attorney general's office.
  For years, this unit investigated water contamination from 
refineries, lead paint waste, and illegal dumping. In its place, he 
created the innocuous sounding Federalism Unit. Unlike the unit he 
eliminated, whose mission was to protect the health and safety of 
Oklahomans, the Federalism Unit's job is to handle all of Mr. Pruitt's 
legal challenges against the EPA. Over the past 3 years, Mr. Pruitt has 
increased the budget of the Federalism Unit by over 700 percent, and 
the taxpayers of Oklahoma get to foot that bill.
  Mr. Pruitt's record paints a clear picture: His priorities directly 
conflict with the EPA's mission to protect public health and the 
environment. He is much more concerned about protecting corporate 
interests than keeping our communities healthy and safe from pollution.
  Over the past few months, I have heard from thousands of my 
constituents who have urged me to oppose Mr. Pruitt's nomination. I 
would like to read two of the letters I have received. Georgia is a 
Ph.D. student at the University of Hawaii. She wrote:

       I strongly oppose Scott Pruitt's confirmation as EPA 
     Administrator. Mr. Pruitt is a climate change denier who has 
     actively worked against the mission of the agency.

  As a Ph.D. student in science, I know we need an EPA administrator 
that respects science and supports clean air, clean water, and a 
healthy environment. Pruitt is the wrong choice for our nation and must 
be rejected.
  Keiko from Kaneohe also wrote to explain what this fight means to 
her.

       This is not a bipartisan issue, but it is as much an 
     American issue as it is a Hawaiian issue, a human issue, and 
     an issue of all inhabitants of Papa, mother earth. I ask that 
     you continue to be vigilant and `onipa'a in the face of 
     climate change deniers . . . Mahalo for looking out for 
     everyone living today and going to be born tomorrow.

  We have come too far over the past 8 years to let someone like Scott 
Pruitt destroy the progress we have made. I urge my colleagues to 
oppose this nomination.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I also rise today to oppose the 
nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency.
  I believe the President should be able to assemble his or her own 
team, and I understand that elections have consequences and that a 
President should be able to put forth his or her policy agenda. I voted 
on this floor many times in support of nominees with whom I have policy 
differences, but they have been qualified persons, experienced in their 
field, who believe in the fundamental mission of the agency they are 
tasked to lead. That is not the case with Attorney General Pruitt. Mr. 
Pruitt has extreme environmental policy views, and he has zero 
experience running the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, he 
does not believe in the fundamental mission of the EPA. Attorney 
General Pruitt made his name opposing EPA rules that protect human 
health and the environment--fighting against clean air and clean water, 
disregarding the science behind the EPA's protections for human health 
and the environment on behalf of for-profit special interests, not the 
public interest.
  He has brought 19 suits against the EPA. Eight are currently pending 
in courts, and if confirmed, he won't recuse himself from all the 
pending cases. As a lawyer and especially as your State's top lawyer, 
you shouldn't change sides in litigation. It is just not right. There 
may be an ethics violation here. I have never heard of a lawyer 
representing both sides of a case.
  Let's look at just a few examples from his litigation records, 
starting with his opposition to clean air. Mr. Pruitt is leading 
litigation against the EPA's ozone or smog rule. In 2015 the EPA 
revised its ambiant air standards

[[Page S1379]]

for ground level ozone. The EPA was long overdue in revising its ozone 
standards to protect public health. It even had to be sued by States 
and environmental organizations to make sure the standards adequately 
protected human health. High concentrations of ozone are bad for public 
health, children, and older adults, and people with lung diseases such 
as asthma are especially vulnerable.
  The EPA set a standard of 70 parts per billion. This standard is 
based on the best science, which included thousands of studies 
analyzing the effects of ozone on public health. In addition, the EPA 
built in flexibility for States that would have trouble meeting the 
standard. But the Oklahoma attorney general currently leads a four-
State charge to do away with the rule.
  Mr. Pruitt thinks it is OK for powerplants to emit unhealthy levels 
of mercury and other toxins into the air. In 2011, the EPA passed the 
mercury and air toxics standards. This rule limits emissions from 
powerplants of mercury, arsenic, and other metals. Like the ozone 
standard, this rule was long overdue, and the EPA was forced by the 
courts to develop the standard.
  The science is well established that these toxins are a serious 
public health threat. Fortunately, there are proven and available 
technologies to limit the emissions. Scott Pruitt fought the mercury 
and air toxics standards, and he is still litigating in court against 
the standards even though the vast majority of powerplants in the 
Nation are currently in compliance with the standards.
  Just to show you how serious this is in my home State of New Mexico, 
pregnant women and children can only eat a very small amount of fish 
from the streams of New Mexico. Our streams are polluted with mercury. 
The levels are so high that vulnerable populations are advised to 
severely limit their consumption. Scott Pruitt wants to continue this 
pollution of our streams.
  Mr. Pruitt testified in the hearing before the EPW Committee that he 
saw a role for the EPA to address pollution that crosses State 
boundaries, but his litigation history does not support that testimony. 
As Oklahoma attorney general, he fought the EPA's cross-state air 
pollution rule, a rule designed to reduce powerplant emissions across 
State lines that cause smog and pollution and health problems in 
downwind States. Especially, the cross-state air pollution rule reduces 
sulfur dioxide, or SO 2, and oxides of nitrogen or NOX 
emissions. NOX emissions contribute to fine particle and 
soot pollution and to ground level ozone formation, otherwise known as 
smog. Even though this pollution affects the air and health of downwind 
States, Mr. Pruitt sided with the powerplants.
  Air pollution is not the only problem that crosses State lines. River 
and stream pollution does not stop at State boundaries either. The EPA 
and the U.S. Army passed the clean water rule in 2015. The rule 
clarified a dizzying set of Supreme Court cases defining protected 
water. The EPA and the Army reviewed the best science, reviewing more 
than 1200 peer-reviewed public scientific studies to define protected 
waters.
  New Mexico is an arid State. We have very little surface water. We 
need to protect all of our surface water for domestic, agricultural, 
industrial, and recreational uses. By the way, the EPA and the Army's 
definition of surface waters is no broader than my own State's 
definition of surface waters. New Mexico's definition is appropriate 
and reasonable to protect our precious surface water.

  The attorney general of Oklahoma is fighting the clean water rule, 
too, even though it protects against cross-state pollution.
  Here is one more example--the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan 
is our country's best effort to address climate change. We know that 
climate change is happening. We know that the climate change is 
primarily caused by humans. We know that powerplants are a major 
contributor. We know that we need to take action and that we need to 
take action fast to protect our planet. The Clean Power Plan 
significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions from existing, modified, 
and future powerplants. The Clean Power Plan was developed based on the 
best science. It was developed based on a tremendous amount of input 
from the States, industry, environmentalists, and others. It provides 
States with a lot of flexibility with how to comply. Mr. Pruitt, true 
to form, is litigating against the Clean Power Plan. Mr. Pruitt 
apparently does not understand the science of climate change.
  In the National Review in 2016, he wrote: ``Scientists continue to 
disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its 
connection to the actions of mankind.'' During his confirmation 
hearing, he similarly stated:

       Science tells us that the climate is changing and human 
     activity in some manner impacts that change. The human 
     ability to measure the extent of that impact is subject to 
     continuing debate and dialogue as well as they should be.

  That is not what science tells us. That is maybe what fossil fuel 
special interests tell him, but that is not what science tells us. His 
views are not consistent with the scientific consensus on climate 
change. The 2013 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change found it ``extremely likely'' that more than half of the global 
warming that occurred between 1951 and 2010 was a consequence of human 
emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
  So many of the decisions made and the regulations passed by the EPA 
rely heavily upon good science. It is absolutely critical that the EPA 
Administrator understand and use the best science.
  I am not convinced that Mr. Pruitt understands and will use the best 
science if he is confirmed to lead the EPA.
  When developing regulations, the EPA must first follow the law's 
requirements to protect human health and the environment. Then, within 
the law's requirements, the EPA should take account of input and 
information from all sources--from industry, environmentalists, States, 
and public agencies.
  I am not convinced that Mr. Pruitt will follow the law's requirements 
to protect public health and the environment, and I am not convinced 
that he will take into account the input of all stakeholders. 
Throughout his career as attorney general, Mr. Pruitt has aligned 
solely with industry and against public health and the environment. He 
has no record of aligning with the public or of securing our 
environment for the future.
  As attorney general, he engaged in a scorched earth policy against 
environmental regulations. He dismantled his environmental protection 
unit. He became very close politically to the energy industry. He 
adopted letters written by energy lobbyists almost verbatim, and then 
submitted them on behalf of the State of Oklahoma in Federal legal 
proceedings.
  As chair of the Republican Attorneys General Association, he became 
even more closely aligned with the fossil fuel-related companies.
  Mr. Pruitt's record is one-sided and extreme, and it does not give me 
confidence that as EPA Administrator he would have any commitment to 
protecting the public health now or protecting the environment for 
future generations.
  Finally, I am concerned that Mr. Pruitt has not shown and does not 
have the proper respect for tribal sovereignty. Oklahoma is home to 39 
tribes. Mr. Pruitt's litigation history as attorney general has 
consistently been anti-tribe. As vice chair of the Senate Committee on 
Indian Affairs, I pay special attention to a nominee's record on tribal 
issues, especially nominees for agencies that will deal with tribes on 
a government-to-government basis, like the EPA.
  As Oklahoma's top attorney, Mr. Pruitt routinely sought out ways to 
fight tribal sovereignty--even all the way to the Highest Court in the 
land. In Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, 
Mr. Pruitt filed an amicus brief in support of a corporation that 
refused to submit to tribal jurisdiction. Mr. Pruitt's side lost. This 
case is a prime example of Mr. Pruitt's misguided views of tribe and 
their inherent sovereignty. Indian Country needs an EPA Administrator 
who respects tribal sovereignty. I am not convinced Mr. Pruitt does.
  Just recently we had in town the National Council of American 
Indians. They submitted a letter on January 18. I ask unanimous consent 
that it be printed in the Record.

[[Page S1380]]

  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                              National Congress of


                                             American Indians,

                                 Washington, DC, January 18, 2016.
     Re Indian Country's Concerns with EPA Administrator Nominee 
         Scott Pruitt.

     Hon. John Barrasso,
     Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public 
         Works, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Thomas Carper,
     Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and 
         Public Works, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper: On behalf 
     of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the 
     oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and 
     Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of 
     Tribal governments and communities, I am writing to express 
     our deep concern with the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney 
     General Scott Pruitt to be the Administrator of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on his history of 
     fighting environmental regulations and the new 
     Administration's statements denying the existence of climate 
     change. The continuing impacts of climate change are a major 
     concern of Tribal Nations and, before this Committee votes to 
     move forward with Attorney General Pruitt's nomination to 
     lead the EPA, it must thoroughly consider the potential 
     impacts that his nomination will have on climate change, the 
     protection of natural resources, and protection of Tribal 
     trust and treaty rights.
       American Indians and Alaska Natives are disproportionately 
     impacted by climate change due to our geographical areas and 
     direct connection and reliance on the surrounding 
     environments. It is threatening to destroy our lands, waters, 
     and natural resources, which will impact our traditional and 
     customary ways of life that has been sustainable for 
     thousands of years. The well-documented plight of Alaska 
     Native villages is probably the most profound manifestation 
     of the climate crisis and requires focused, high priority 
     attention from the federal government. NCAI's Tribal 
     leadership and members have spoken strongly on climate change 
     by passing four resolutions in the past four years calling 
     for action and setting Tribal Climate Change Principles 
     calling on further federal action and partnership with Tribal 
     governments.
       The federal government's treaty and trust responsibilities 
     to protect Indian lands includes the duty to protect lands 
     from the impacts of climate change, which requires not only 
     that sufficient federal resources be equitably allocated to 
     address climate change, but that Tribes be included as 
     partners to solve these issues. Federal programs and policies 
     must allow Tribal Nations to engage effectively in adaptation 
     and mitigation strategies that will help ensure the integrity 
     of our cultures, homelands, infrastructures, and services. 
     Further, it is imperative that federal agencies enforce 
     Tribal treaty and reserved rights to both on- and off-
     reservation resources.
       The EPA's mission to protect human health and the 
     environment means that it plays an essential role in fighting 
     climate change-related impacts. Due to its charge, EPA also 
     has a sacred responsibility to uphold and protect Tribal 
     trust and treaty rights through the protection of Tribal 
     natural resources. In fact, the EPA acknowledges the 
     importance of reviewing how agency actions will impact treaty 
     rights in its recent policy guidance EPA Policy on 
     Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes: Guidance 
     for Discussing Tribal Treaty Rights.
       Since the EPA is critical to combating climate change and 
     protecting Tribal trust and treaty rights, Indian country is 
     deeply concerned with Attorney General Pruitt's nomination to 
     head the Agency. It is our understanding that, in his role as 
     Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, Pruitt has 
     repeatedly filed suits against the EPA for its regulations 
     seeking to protect the environment. Further, his nomination 
     comes from an incoming Administration which claims that 
     climate change is a ``hoax'' and questions whether the EPA 
     should continue to exist.
       This Committee must ensure that attorney General Pruitt 
     understands and acknowledges the realities of human impacts 
     on global climate change, the need for the EPA and federal 
     regulations to protect the environment, and the importance of 
     EPA's role in protecting Tribal lands, waters, and natural 
     resources. We must get his commitment on the record to 
     sustain the EPA's role in fighting climate change and 
     protecting Tribal trust and treaty rights. Without these 
     acknowledgements, Indian Country cannot support Attorney 
     General Pruitt's nomination for Administrator of the EPA.
       We are at a critical moment in combating the increasing 
     climate changes effects from human-made sources. Indian 
     Country, the United States, and the world cannot afford to 
     take a backseat role in fighting climate change.
           Sincerely,
                                                  Brian Cladoosby,
                                                        President.

  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I would like to just read a couple of 
paragraphs from the letter.

       On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians 
     (NCAI), the oldest, largest, and most representative American 
     Indian and Alaskan Native organization serving the broad 
     interests of tribal governments and communities, I am writing 
     to express our deep concern of the nomination of Oklahoma 
     attorney general Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the 
     Environmental Protection Agency based on his history of 
     fighting environmental regulations and the new 
     Administration's statements denying the existence of climate 
     change. The continuing impacts of climate change are a major 
     concern of Tribal Nations and, before this Committee votes to 
     move forward with Attorney General Pruitt's nomination to 
     lead the EPA, it must thoroughly consider the potential 
     impacts that his nomination will have on climate change, the 
     protection of natural resources, and protection of Tribal 
     trust and treaty rights.
       American Indians and Alaskan Natives are disproportionately 
     impacted by climate change due to our geographic areas and 
     direct connection and reliance on the surrounding 
     environments. It is threatening to destroy our lands, waters, 
     and natural resources, which will impact our traditional and 
     customary ways of life that have been sustainable for 
     thousands of years.
       We are at a critical moment in combating the increasing 
     climate change effects from human-made sources. Indian 
     Country, the United States, and the world cannot afford to 
     take a backseat role in fighting climate change.

  In conclusion, my concerns about Mr. Pruitt's record on environmental 
policy aren't just because we disagree on policy. Mr. Pruitt has made 
his reputation in litigating fiercely against the EPA's most important 
regulations to protect public health and the environment, clean air, 
clean water, toxics on land--you name it--regulations that comply with 
Federal environmental laws that are based on good science, that have 
taken years to prepare, and that have taken fair account of all 
stakeholders' input.
  I cannot support a nominee to lead this Agency whose record is so 
hostile to the environment. For all of these reasons, I must vote no on 
Mr. Pruitt's nomination to be EPA Administrator.
  Finally, we have today the court's ordering Mr. Pruitt to release a 
large number of records that are relevant to this particular 
nomination. He has refused to release them. The administration, in 
vetting him, did a very poor job. As you know, they do not vet anybody. 
They throw it up here, and we have to do the vetting. That is our job 
to do the vetting. This is a critical part of the record--a vast number 
of emails that should be looked at.
  Many of us believe we should have the time to look at these emails, 
to deliberate about them, to maybe even ask some written questions to 
Mr. Pruitt about them, but this nomination is being rammed through. In 
a couple of hours, we are going to have a vote. Luckily, Senator 
Merkley is going to urge that we vote to delay this so we can have a 
chance to look at those emails. It is so that all of us--all of the 100 
Senators--have the opportunity to have a full, complete record on Mr. 
Pruitt.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I rise to speak in support of the 
nomination of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency.
  Attorney General Pruitt has a distinguished record of public service 
in having served for 8 years in the Oklahoma State Senate before being 
sworn in as the attorney general of Oklahoma in 2010. Two dozen State 
attorneys general wrote to the Senate Committee on Environment and 
Public Works in support of Mr. Pruitt's nomination. He has been 
endorsed by a wide variety of organizations representing a broad swath 
of America culture and industry, including the U.S. Chamber of 
Commerce, the National Association of Home Builders, the American Farm 
Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the 
Western Energy Alliance, and the Western Growers Association, just to 
name a few.
  In his capacity as State attorney general, Mr. Pruitt has 
consistently fought against Federal intrusion on State and individual 
liberties, and he has shown himself to be a thoughtful attorney who is 
dedicated to the Constitution and to the rule of law. The

[[Page S1381]]

next Administrator of the EPA must respect the limits of Federal power. 
Few know these limits better than Mr. Pruitt, which is why I believe he 
will be a capable leader at the EPA.
  Mr. Pruitt will rein in Federal overreach and put a stop to many of 
the overbearing regulations that have done very little to protect the 
environment but much to hurt businesses, large and small.
  Modernization of the Environmental Protection Agency is long overdue. 
For too long, the Agency has acted outside its legal authority. For too 
long, the Agency has strayed from its core mission of protecting human 
health and the environment. For too long, it has imposed draconian 
regulations that cause undue harm to America's small businesses and 
rural communities.
  I have long held that the EPA can fulfill its vitally important 
mission of protecting the environment without causing unnecessary harm 
to the economy, but to achieve this objective will require a massive 
culture change at the Agency--a culture change that only Mr. Pruitt can 
bring.
  Mr. Pruitt wants an EPA that is both pro-environment and pro-growth. 
What is wrong with that? That is long overdue. He understands that 
protecting our lands and helping our businesses succeed is not a zero-
sum game. With Mr. Pruitt at the helm, I am confident he will bring 
much needed change to the EPA and restore the public's trust in the 
Agency.
  Once confirmed, I am eager to work with Mr. Pruitt to discuss how we 
can best protect our air and our water and how we can best modernize 
the EPA.
  It is amazing to me that some of the greatest leaders in the 
bureaucracy over the years have been people who have worked in the 
fields that really constitute what we are talking about here today. 
They have surprised people by making sure that both sides have really 
been taken care of and that the laws are faithfully executed and some 
of the partisanship and biased approaches toward the environment are 
overcome.
  Mr. Pruitt is capable of doing that--a brilliant man with a brilliant 
record. He is supported by an awful lot of attorneys general in this 
country. He is a person who, if liberally given the chance, might be 
able to help turn around some of the things that are just plain wrong 
at the EPA.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.


                         Remembering Bob Michel

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, every politician alive should aspire for 
that moment, like Bob Michel, when the last words of tribute to his 
public service are: ``He was the face of decency in public service.''
  This morning, Bob Michel, who served as the leader of the U.S. House 
of Representatives for the Republican Party, passed away at age 93.
  His replacement as Republican leader in the House marked the end of 
an era of civility--Congress has never been the same--but his life as 
the son of an immigrant, as a decorated veteran of World War II, and as 
a person who was first a staffer, then elected to Congress, and rose to 
leadership is a testament to his talent and his commitment to America.
  I had known Bob Michel for 35 years. We had adjoining congressional 
districts downstate. When he was elected in 1982, in the Reagan off-
year election, it was a tough year for Republicans. Bob Michel barely 
survived. Attorney Doug Stevens, of Peoria, had about 48 percent, and 
Bob had 52 percent. Lane Evans, of the Quad Cities, was elected to 
Congress, and I was as well.
  For 14 years, we were neighboring Congressmen. Bob Michel came in and 
campaigned for my opponents. I went into his district to campaign for 
his opponents. You would think that would have created a negative 
relationship, but it didn't. Despite that--despite our differences on 
political issues--we were always friends, and we were always 
respectful.
  You could not help but be a friend of Bob Michel's. What an amazing 
personality--a smile that would light up a room and a man who was 
determined to fight like crazy, day in and day out, for the things he 
believed in on the floor of the U.S. House and then, after adjournment, 
joined with Tip O'Neill for dinner--a dinner that usually ended up with 
a lot of people singing songs over a few drinks and great memories.
  The codels in those days--the congressional delegation trips--were 
often bipartisan and had both Speaker O'Neill and the Republican 
leader, Bob Michel, hosting them as they went to important places in 
the world.
  There was a time when Bob Michel was a Congressman and wanted to get 
home to Peoria every weekend but couldn't afford the airfare. Do you 
know what he did? He shared a station wagon with Congressman Dan 
Rostenkowski of Chicago. They would take off and drive back to Chicago 
and Peoria and then back to Washington on a regular basis. They were 
buddies and didn't think twice about the fact that they were of 
different political parties and had different political philosophies.
  That was Bob Michel.
  His passing really does mark the end of an era, but every one of us 
currently in public service should remember the quality he brought to 
his career and the quality he brought to Congress. He left a great 
legacy--many important issues, many great things for Peoria and Central 
Illinois. Possibly, his greatest legacy was his chief of staff--his 
protege--Ray LaHood, who, to this day, embodies the great values that 
Bob Michel brought to public service.
  I stand in tribute to my friend and my Republican neighboring 
Congressman who served this Nation so well for so many years.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, when President Richard Nixon created 
the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, he recognized that we all 
share in a ``profound commitment to the rescue of our natural 
environment and the preservation of the Earth as a place both habitable 
by and hospitable to man.'' That is a pretty powerful commitment. That 
is the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency--to rescue our 
natural environment and keep our planet--our world, our Earth--as 
habitable and hospitable to humankind.
  For more than 46 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been 
the top cop on the beat, safeguarding our natural environment while 
also protecting critical aspects of public health--controlling toxic 
and poisonous chemicals, improving air and water quality, enhancing 
vehicle efficiency and emissions controls. The lists of the 
Environmental Protection Agency's accomplishments go on and on.
  Today, we are considering President Trump's nominee for the 
Environmental Protection Agency. The appropriate question for us to ask 
is, Does this nominee hold in his heart the mission of the 
Environmental Protection Agency? Does he have a profound commitment to 
the rescue of our natural environment, a profound commitment to the 
preservation of the Earth to keep it habitable by humankind, hospitable 
to humankind?
  This individual is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. We would 
like to have the full set of information about his work as attorney 
general that has been very relevant to this question, because the 
limited information we have shows that he has very deep connections and 
very close allegiance to the fossil fuel industry. And rather than 
displaying during his time as AG a profound commitment to our natural 
environment, to preserve it and keep it hospitable and habitable, he 
has instead weighed in time and time again on behalf of the polluters.

  So for us to have a full sense of these connections, we need to have 
access to the emails and correspondence that he has generated over the 
last 2 years tied to the fossil fuel industry.
  There are some 3,000 emails and associated pieces of correspondence--
we are not sure of the exact total, but that is a substantial body of 
information that has been identified--and for 2 years, the attorney 
general, Scott Pruitt, has stonewalled the efforts to obtain these 
documents. There have been repeated requests time and time again filed 
with his office, and his office has failed to produce the information 
requested under the Public Information Act of Oklahoma. Time and time 
again, he said no, no, no.
  So then he comes to this body as a nominee to be the steward-in-chief 
of the responsibilities for our environment. So here in the Senate, we 
asked for those emails to help understand

[[Page S1382]]

whether he has served the public or whether he has served the 
polluters. That is the question before us. He said: Well, apply to the 
attorney general's office of Oklahoma for those emails and information.
  This is rather unique. I don't know if this has ever happened in the 
history of the United States, the nominee saying: Yes, you can acquire 
that information by applying to me, back in my role as attorney 
general, knowing full well that he had absolutely no intention of 
actually providing that information.
  Then yesterday a court stepped forward and said: Yes, this 
information must be provided. This is not the type of information that 
can be compiled overnight, so they gave Attorney General Scott Pruitt a 
couple of days--until next Tuesday--to be able to compile this 
information and provide it. And when it is provided, it will simply be 
the equivalent of PDF documents--scanned copies, if you will--of the 
printed copies of the emails and correspondence. Then it has to be 
shipped out to the group that applied for the information, and then 
they have to digitize it and send it out for us to have it here. It is 
still not searchable. Then we need time to go through it.
  Well, it is convenient that we delay this vote until after we have 
this information because we are not going to be here next week. So 
whether we hold the vote at this moment, scheduled for 1 p.m., as we 
are leaving for a week or we hold it until when we return, on the 
Monday we return, it doesn't have any impact on slowing down this body. 
It would cost nothing in terms of the processing of the President's 
nominees to delay this vote until we return, at which time we will have 
the emails, and we will have had time to examine them, and the public 
will have had time to examine them, and that would honor our 
responsibility.
  The Constitution was laid out in a fashion to put full responsibility 
on the individuals staffing the key agencies and Cabinet departments 
with the President. The Founders, the writers of the Constitution, 
wrestled with who should have that responsibility. They thought perhaps 
the appropriate check would be to have the Congress--they refer to it 
as ``Assembly'' in their dialogues--the Assembly decide who would be 
the folks staffing the executive branch at the highest levels of 
management. They said that was a problem because there wouldn't be full 
transparency. The public wouldn't be able to determine why one person 
was chosen or another person was chosen. There might be all kinds of 
trades taking place between the Senators. One might say: If you give me 
my choice for this Cabinet post, I will give you your choice for 
another, and the public wouldn't even know how those deals were being 
struck.
  So the public accountability was honored by our Founders by saying 
the President will nominate, but in case the President goes off track 
and starts to nominate people of unfit character--unfit character--the 
Senate will have the responsibility to review the person's record and 
stop that nomination. That is our responsibility. That is the 
deterrence that Hamilton used, that we would take the process of this 
Chamber to ensure we do not confirm someone of unfit character. But to 
make that determination, we must have access to those emails, which are 
going to be distributed next Tuesday.
  Madam President, I yield the floor to my colleague.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Thank you, Madam President.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, will the Senator yield for a UC request?
  Mr. SCHUMER. I will be happy to yield for a UC request.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that at the 
conclusion of the remarks of the Senator from New York, I be recognized 
for 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. SCHUMER. Does that meet the favor of my friend from Oregon? Is 
that OK?
  Mr. MERKLEY. Could we have that unanimous consent request restated?
  Mr. SCHUMER. The Senator from Oklahoma asked for 5 minutes 
immediately after my remarks.
  Mr. MERKLEY. No objection.
  Mr. SCHUMER. No objection.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. INHOFE. I thank the Chair.


                     Executive Branch Investigation

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, I rise today on two topics--the need 
for Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself from the executive 
branch investigation into General Flynn and the nomination of Attorney 
General Pruitt to be the EPA Administrator.
  First, on the matter of executive branch investigations into General 
Flynn's contact with the Russian Ambassador, I rise again to stress my 
expectation that Attorney General Sessions will recuse himself from 
this investigation.
  This morning we learned--according to reports in the Washington 
Post--that General Flynn may have lied--lied--to FBI investigators 
about the content of his phone call with the Russian Ambassador prior 
to the election. That is a potential felony offense, and it must be 
looked at and, if validated, potentially prosecuted by law enforcement 
officials at the Department of Justice. That review must be independent 
and thorough and completely by the books. In order for it to be so, the 
Attorney General must recuse himself pursuant to Department of Justice 
guidelines that prohibit members of the Department from participating 
in investigations of close political allies or friends.
  The guidelines are crystal clear. I have read them on the floor 
before, but they are worth reading because there is no wiggle room 
here. It is absolutely clear:

       No Department of Justice employee may participate in a 
     criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or 
     political relationship with any person or organization 
     substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of 
     the investigation or prosecution. . . . Political 
     relationship means a close identification with an elected 
     official, candidate, political party, or campaign 
     organization arising from service as a principal adviser or 
     official.

  Those are the words of the DOJ guidelines. Those are not my words, 
but they are common sense. We don't want conflict of interest in our 
prosecutors. We don't want the appearance of a conflict in something as 
sacred as law enforcement here in America.
  It is patently absurd to think that the Attorney General--a man who 
served alongside General Flynn on Candidate Trump's campaign council--
is prepared to lead this investigation in an impartial way and in full 
compliance with those longstanding Department of Justice rules. There 
would be a complete appearance of a conflict and might, indeed, be a 
conflict itself. By the guidelines, it certainly is. There is no wiggle 
room here. AGs have recused themselves at least eight times over the 
past two decades to avoid the appearance of bias--twice under President 
Obama, five times under President Bush, and once under President 
Clinton.
  To conclude my remarks on this topic, I want to show--and I ask 
unanimous consent that an op-ed coauthored by then-Senator Sessions 
calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to recuse herself in the 
matter of Secretary Clinton's emails be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                   [From FoxNews.com, Nov. 05, 2016]

Giuliani, Sessions, Keating, et al.: Time for Loretta Lynch to Appoint 
                           a Special Counsel

(Editor's note: The authors of the following column are all supporting 
                      Donald Trump for president)

       We are concerned about the egregious damage that has been 
     inflicted on two revered government agencies: the Department 
     of Justice and Department of State. The primary missions of 
     both have been derailed for political purposes.
       The Department of Justice has been thwarted by its top 
     officials' refusal to conduct a proper investigation of 
     former Secretary Clinton's unsecured email server and the Pay 
     for Play accusations based on millions of dollars paid to 
     President Clinton personally and the Clinton Foundation by 
     entities having issues before the State Department, all while 
     she was Secretary.
       Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton met on 
     the Phoenix, Arizona tarmac days before Secretary Clinton was 
     to be interviewed by the FBI for possible criminal activity. 
     It has been reported that her staff ordered witnesses not to 
     take pictures and no one was present during their 39-minute 
     conversation. General Lynch never recused herself from 
     decisions on the Clinton

[[Page S1383]]

     investigation after her self-admitted ``mistake,'' as it has 
     also been reported that she continues to deny the FBI the 
     authority to convene a Grand Jury, which is necessary for any 
     meaningful investigation.


 Secretary Clinton's conduct at the Department of State corrupted our 
                             foreign policy

       It has also been reported that General Lynch opposed 
     Director Comey from fulfilling his obligation to Congress by 
     informing members of the discovery of 650,000 emails on 
     Anthony Weiner's and Huma Abedin's computer, the existence of 
     which had been concealed from government authorities.
       Recusal is a formal process. It is a written document 
     specifically describing the scope of the recusal and 
     designating the official in charge of the recused matter. If 
     General Lynch went through the proper procedure for recusal, 
     she has not publicly shared it.
       Secretary Clinton's conduct at the Department of State 
     corrupted our foreign policy. She and President Clinton 
     turned the agency into a Pay for Play adjunct of the Clinton 
     Foundation and their personal bank account, the latter via 
     his personal ``speaking'' fees. [UBS, Switzerland's largest 
     bank, contributed over $600,000 to the Foundation and loaned 
     it over $30,000,000. UBS was grateful that Secretary Clinton 
     had intervened in the IRS' demand to UBS to provide 
     identities of 52,000 depositors. Secretary Clinton announced 
     the settlement of only 4,450 identities in an ``unusual 
     intervention by a top U.S. diplomat,'' according to the Wall 
     Street Journal. UBS additionally paid President Clinton 
     personally $1,500,000 for a series of questions and answers 
     with top management.
       President Clinton reaped $6,200,000 personally from foreign 
     governments and businesses for speeches while she was 
     Secretary of State. For example, Ericsson, a Swedish 
     corporation, had sanction issues pending before the State 
     Department regarding telecom sales in certain countries. 
     Ericsson paid President Clinton $750,000 for one speech. Days 
     later the State Department announced the sanction list and 
     Ericsson was not affected. Why should any spouse of a 
     Secretary of State be permitted ever to receive one cent from 
     a foreign entity?
       Because of our grave concern for integrity in government we 
     ask for a Special Counsel. When a high public official is 
     accused of serious wrongdoing and there is a sufficient 
     factual predicate to investigate, it is imperative the 
     investigation be thorough, with dispatch and without 
     partisanship.
       Secretary Clinton is the subject of two spheres of criminal 
     conduct: her deliberate, systematic mishandling of official 
     and classified emails and her abuse of a family-controlled, 
     tax-exempt Foundation, and corporate and foreign donations 
     for her own economic and political benefit.
       These allegations arose well before this election year.
       Clinton's mishandling of emails became public in March 
     2015, and allegations over abuse of the Foundation arose well 
     before that. There has long been sufficient factual predicate 
     to require these matters be fully investigated.
       The appropriate response when the subject matter is public 
     and it arises in a highly-charged political atmosphere is for 
     the Attorney General to appoint a Special Counsel of great 
     public stature and indisputable independence to assure the 
     public the matter will be handled without partisanship.
       In 1991-1992, a Special Counsel was appointed for three 
     separate matters: House Bank, Iraqgate, and Inslaw. It was 
     also done in 2003 in the Valerie Plame matter.
       Instead of moving with dispatch to ensure a vigorous 
     investigation of Secretary Clinton, it appears that the 
     Justice Department, along with State, have enabled the 
     Clinton campaign to ``slow roll'' the inquiry.
       General Lynch continues to exert control of a matter that 
     she should have assigned to another official.
       We are distressed by widespread and credible reports that 
     FBI agents have been hindered by the Justice Department's 
     withholding of basic investigative tools, such as grand jury 
     subpoenas, which are fundamental in a complex investigation.
       It is time to do what should have been done long ago--
     appoint a Special Counsel.
       Rudolph W. Giuliani--Former Associate Attorney General and 
     U.S. Attorney in Southern District of New York
       Senator Jeff Sessions--former U.S. Attorney for Alabama's 
     Southern District
       Frank Keating--Former Associate Attorney General, U.S. in 
     District of Kansas and Special Agent FBI
       Victoria Toensing--former Deputy Assistant Attorney General 
     in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Justice Department
       Henry McMaster--former U.S. Attorney, District of South 
     Carolina
       Rudy Giuliani is the former Mayor of the City of New York.

  Mr. SCHUMER. Senator Sessions, right here, called for Loretta Lynch--
then Attorney General--to recuse herself because of a conflict of 
interest under the very same guidelines we cited. We hope and we pray 
that Senator Sessions doesn't have an enormous double standard by 
refusing to recuse himself now when he asked the previous Attorney 
General to do so. We hope that President Trump will abide by the 
guidelines and encourage Senator Sessions to go by the guidelines and 
not again invoke any double standard.
  This op-ed makes it crystal clear. What was good enough for Loretta 
Lynch, who did step aside, is good enough for Attorney General 
Sessions, and it would be outrageous--outrageous--for him to be in 
charge of this investigation.
  The op-ed says: ``When a high public official is accused of serious 
wrongdoing and there is a sufficient factual predicate to investigate, 
it is imperative the investigation be thorough, without dispatch and 
without partisanship.''
  So I hope Attorney General Sessions takes the word of Senator Jeff 
Sessions to heart. Every day that goes by without a recusal from the 
Attorney General, the cloud hanging over this investigation and over 
this administration gets darker and darker. And every time the 
President and Attorney General Sessions confer, again, the cloud hovers 
over them: What did they talk about? Was it this investigation?
  So I hope Attorney General Sessions will do the right thing and 
recuse himself. Justice, the American way, and separation of powers 
require no less.
  Madam President, today we will vote on another Cabinet nominee who is 
clouded by potential conflicts of interest and whose views are almost 
antithetical to the very purpose of the Agency to which he is 
nominated.
  Mr. Pruitt is a climate science denier--some say skeptic, but this is 
not an issue where you can be skeptical; either you accept the 
overwhelming opinion of climate scientists and researchers or you 
don't.
  Here is Scott Pruitt on climate change on Oklahoma talk radio:

       Well, reasonable minds can disagree what is actually 
     happening, whether it is happening, number one, whether there 
     is change in climate that is occurring, that the trajectory 
     of it is something that is sustainable and whether that is 
     actually happening . . . the debate about climate change is 
     just that, a debate.

  I would invite this nominee to walk through Long Beach or Long Island 
or Staten Island in New York City in the days and weeks after 
Superstorm Sandy rocked my State. None of those residents--the 
thousands who lost homes, the hundreds of thousands who suffered 
injury, damage, economic problems from the flood--they don't debate it, 
nor should he. There was no debate there. Folks lost everything that 
belonged to them. There was no debate about that. Forty-eight people in 
my State died--no debate about that.
  Climate change will lead to more devastating natural disasters like 
Sandy, which was the third 100-year storm to strike my State in a 
decade. Climate change will make asthma and respiratory diseases worse. 
It is increasing the range of deer ticks that cause lyme disease--no 
debate about that. We have to do something about climate change.
  Scott Pruitt as head of our Nation's Environmental Protection Agency 
likely wouldn't lift a finger. But it is part of a lifelong pattern. 
Instead of fighting for average Americans, Mr. Pruitt decided to make a 
name for himself among the far right by endlessly suing the EPA in ways 
that would benefit large special interests that also happen to be 
campaign contributors. In 13 of his 14 lawsuits against the EPA, he 
joined corporations and trade associations that had contributed to his 
campaign.
  Just yesterday, an Oklahoma judge ruled that Scott Pruitt must turn 
over approximately 3,000 emails relating to his communications with the 
fossil fuel industry--the very industry he represented in these 
lawsuits. We won't get those emails until Tuesday. So you would expect 
my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to be up in arms. Emails. 
Remember, emails? We should get them out, they said, about Hillary 
Clinton--the same group. In 2013, Gina McCarthy waited 122 days to be 
confirmed for EPA Administrator because she wasn't honoring a 
commitment, they felt, to transparency.
  There were several inquiries into the emails of Lisa Jackson, another 
EPA Administrator. But the majority and majority leader are proceeding 
right along and rushing Attorney General Pruitt through the process. We 
know why. They want you, my fellow Republicans, to vote for Mr. Pruitt 
before

[[Page S1384]]

those emails come to light. If they weren't worried about them, then 
why rush? It is not the worst thing in the world to take a few extra 
days to properly vet someone who will have immense power over our 
Nation's streams, skies, even the lead level in our homes and water 
supply.
  Those emails could contain material information about his 
confirmation. But unless we move the confirmation back, the Senate will 
not get a chance to review those emails before voting on his 
nomination.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's postcloture time has expired.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I ask unanimous consent for 30 more seconds.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I urge my Republican colleagues to stop rushing this 
nomination and ensure that we collect all relevant information on these 
troubling conflicts of interest.
  Madam President, I yield the floor, and I yield back the remainder of 
my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, since I did not object to the additional 
30 seconds, I ask unanimous consent that my 5 minutes be changed to 5 
minutes and 30 seconds.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, a quick comment about climate change: No 
one--no one--has denied that the climate is consistently changing. All 
the Scriptural evidence, historical evidence, and archeological 
evidence says, yes, it has always been changing and always will change. 
But what they are trying to infer is that because of that, then the 
world is coming to an end because of what? Manmade gases--anthropogenic 
gases--manmade gases. That is what the real hoax is, but I am not going 
to waste my time on that. However, I will next week, I might add.
  The Senator from New York talked about the fact that we have an 
attorney general who has sued the EPA many times. Let me just remind 
everyone--and I don't think I have heard this on the floor, but I have 
watched Democrat after Democrat after Democrat come by and just 
brutally attack Scott Pruitt, a guy I know to be an honorable man. I 
don't know of one attorney general who has served with him who doesn't 
agree with that.
  In terms of suing, I think it is important to understand that almost 
every Democrat who has stood up and said disparaging things about Scott 
Pruitt and talked about the fact that he has sued the EPA countless 
times--their attorney general from their State has also sued the EPA. I 
will read the States: The attorneys general from Wisconsin, Colorado, 
Ohio, Nevada, Indiana, New Mexico, Missouri, Florida, Michigan, and 
Montana, all have Democratic Members of the Senate who have been 
criticizing Scott Pruitt. Their own States have filed lawsuits against 
the EPA.
  The other thing I want to mention, which I think is very important, 
is a letter from our newest Senator, Luther Strange. Senator Strange is 
the replacement for our Honorable Jeff Sessions, who now is the 
Attorney General. This letter is signed by two pages of attorneys 
general from all over America--Democratic States, Republican States, 
States where Democrats have come to this floor criticizing him. I will 
read the last two paragraphs of the letter from Luther Strange signed 
by all of these Democratic and Republican Attorneys General:

       Scott Pruitt is more than just an exemplary state attorney 
     general, he is also our friend. A man of deep faith who is 
     committed to his family and to his friends, Scott seeks 
     always to do the right thing. His friendship and leadership 
     have been invaluable to us over the years.
       The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency 
     plays a critical role in our Nation's government.

  Keep in mind, this is coming from Democratic attorneys general.

       Attorney General Pruitt has proven over the course of his 
     career that he has the right character, experience, and 
     knowledge to serve as the Administrator of the EPA. We urge 
     the Senate to confirm his nomination.

  This is signed by about 22 attorneys general, Democrats and 
Republicans.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent this letter, along with the 
list of States who have had occasion to sue the EPA, the same as Scott 
Pruitt has, be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                 State of Alabama,


                               Office of the Attorney General,

                                  Montgomery, AL, January 4, 2017.
     Hon. John Barrasso,
     Dirksen Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Tom Carper,
     Hart Senate Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper: As the 
     attorneys general of our respective states, we write to 
     express our unqualified support for our colleague and the 
     Attorney General of Oklahoma, E. Scott Pruitt, as 
     Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
       As attorneys general, we understand the need to work 
     collaboratively to address threats to our environment that 
     cross state lines, as well as the importance of a federal 
     counterpart in the EPA Administrator who possesses the 
     knowledge, experience, and principles to work with our states 
     to address issues affecting our environment. We believe that 
     no one exemplifies these qualities more than Scott Pruitt.
       As the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt developed 
     expertise in environmental law and policy. He negotiated a 
     historic water rights settlement with Indian tribes that 
     preserved the ecosystems of scenic lakes and rivers; he 
     worked with his Democrat counterpart in Arkansas to reduce 
     pollution in the Illinois River; and he represented the 
     interests of Oklahomans in rate cases against utility 
     companies and in numerous actions against those who 
     contaminated his state's air and water.
       Attorney General Pruitt is committed to clean air and clean 
     water, and to faithfully executing the environmental laws 
     written by Congress. He believes that environmental 
     regulations should be driven by State and local governments--
     a notion endorsed by Congress in the Clean Air Act and Clean 
     Water Act. When our nation is confronted with issues 
     affecting the environment that are not covered by a 
     particular statute, Scott will come to Congress for a 
     solution, rather than inventing power for his agency. He 
     wholeheartedly believes in a strong Environmental Protection 
     Agency that carries out its proper duties, providing a 
     backstop to state and local regulators as they develop 
     environmental regulations suited to the needs of their own 
     communities.
       Scott Pruitt is more than just an exemplary state attorney 
     general, he is also our friend. A man of deep faith who is 
     committed to his family and to his friends, Scott seeks 
     always to do the right thing. His friendship and leadership 
     have been invaluable to us over the years.
       The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency 
     plays a critical role in our Nation's government. Attorney 
     General Pruitt has proven over the course of his career that 
     he has the right character, experience, and knowledge to 
     serve as the Administrator of the EPA. We urge the Senate to 
     confirm his nomination.
           Sincerely,
       Jeff Landry, Attorney General, State of Louisiana; Alan 
     Wilson, Attorney General, State of South Carolina; Luther 
     Strange, Attorney General, State of Alabama;Marty Jackley, 
     Attorney General, State of South Dakota; Patrick Morrisey, 
     Attorney General, State of West Virginia; Adam Laxalt, 
     Attorney General, State of Nevada; Mark Brnovich, Attorney 
     General, State of Arizona; Herbert Slatery, Attorney General, 
     State of Tennessee; Curtis Hill, Attorney General, State of 
     Indiana; Brad Schimel, Attorney General, State of Wisconsin; 
     Ken Paxton, Attorney General, State of Texas; Bill Schuette, 
     Attorney General, State of Michigan.
       Doug Peterson, Attorney General, State of Nebraska; Chris 
     Carr, Attorney General, State of Georgia; Sean Reyes, 
     Attorney General, State of Utah; Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney 
     General, State of North Dakota; Leslie Rutledge, Attorney 
     General, State of Arkansas; Pam Bondi, Attorney General, 
     State of Florida; Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General, State of 
     Idaho; Tim Fox, Attorney General, State of Montana; Derek 
     Schmidt, Attorney General, State of Kansas; Josh Hawley, 
     Attorney General, State of Missouri; Peter Michael, Attorney 
     General, State of Wyoming; Mike DeWine, Attorney General, 
     State of Ohio.


two cases in which states with democrat senators voting against pruitt 
                           have sued the epa

       Clean Power Plan: OK is one of 27 states suing
       Wisconsin: Baldwin
       Colorado: Bennett
       Ohio: Brown
       Indiana: Donnelly
       Virginia: Kaine and Warner
       Missouri: McCaskill
       Florida: Nelson
       Michigan: Peters and Stabenow
       Montana: Tester
       Waters of the US: OK is one of 32 states suing
       Wisconsin: Baldwin
       Colorado: Bennett
       Ohio: Brown
       Nevada: Cortez Masto
       Indiana: Donnelly
       New Mexico: Heinrich and Udall
       Missouri: McCaskill
       Florida: Nelson

[[Page S1385]]

       Michigan: Peters and Stabenow
       Montana: Tester

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
allowed to speak for 2 minutes, followed by Senator Heinrich for 10 
minutes and Senator Tester for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, I thank the floor staff who were here 
through the night last night and also the staff of the Republican 
cloakroom and the Democratic cloakroom. They have enabled us to 
continue this process at great expense to their energy and fatigue. As 
Senators, we all appreciate the team that has made this possible.
  I also want to draw attention to a letter from 773 EPA employees, who 
state:

       We write as former employees of the Environmental 
     Protection Agency (EPA) to share our concerns about Oklahoma 
     Attorney General Scott Pruitt's qualifications to serve as 
     the next EPA Administrator in light of his record in 
     Oklahoma. . . . Our Perspective is not partisan. Having 
     served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, we 
     recognize each new Administration's right to pursue different 
     policies within the parameters of existing law and to ask 
     Congress to change the laws that protect public health and 
     the environment as it sees fit.
       However, every EPA Administrator has a fundamental 
     obligation to act in the public's interest based on current 
     law and the best available science. Mr. Pruitt's record 
     raises serious questions about whose interests he has served 
     to date.

  Madam President, with that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Madam President, on August 5, 2015, 3 million gallons 
of acid mine drainage laden with heavy metals and other contaminants 
were released into Cement Creek by an Environmental Protection Agency 
contractor investigating contamination at the Gold King Mine in San 
Juan County, CO.
  Contaminated water flowed down Cement Creek, down the Animas River, 
and into the San Juan River, resulting in water use restrictions and 
emergency responses in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, the Southern Ute 
Reservation, and the Navajo Nation. We need only look at the photos of 
the bright orange water streaming through these various drainages to 
see how terrible this spill was for the affected communities and for 
water users. The Gold King Mine spill placed a heavy burden on States, 
tribes, local governments, and communities, and the spill hurt 
businesses, farmers, and ranchers throughout the region.
  Since the spill, I have visited impacted residents and communities 
and worked closely with local, State, and tribal leaders to make sure 
water is monitored for contaminants, and costs from the spill are 
repaid.
  Last year, I was proud to help pass a measure in Congress which will 
ensure that State and local and tribal governments will be fully 
reimbursed for their emergency response costs and which establishes a 
long-term water quality monitoring program in cooperation with local 
stakeholders.
  However, on January 13 of this year, the EPA and Department of 
Justice issued an outrageous decision that the EPA is not liable under 
the Federal Tort Claims Act for damages to water users caused by this 
Gold King Mine spill. This decision represents a broken promise from 
the EPA that it would fully address this environmental disaster.
  Now, while the agency has taken steps is to clean up the mine, no 
farmer in New Mexico or on the Navajo Nation has received a dime of 
compensation, and distrust of the government has understandably 
deepened across the Four Corners region.
  During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on 
Environment and Public Works last month, President Trump's nominee to 
run the EPA, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, said that he would 
review the Agency's decision not to make payments to claimants affected 
by this spill.
  If he is confirmed as EPA Administrator, Mr. Pruitt must take 
immediate steps to restore trust among the people of Colorado, New 
Mexico, Utah, the Southern Ute Tribe, and the Navajo Nation, who have 
already waited far too long for the EPA to keep its promise and 
compensate them for the harm that has been caused.
  I will hold Mr. Pruitt accountable for cleaning up toxic, abandoned 
hard-rock mines in the West, such as Gold King, and I will hold him 
accountable for making sure the water that New Mexico communities and 
farmers rely on is safe.
  We shouldn't wait for more disasters to strike. New Mexico 
communities deserve full and complete protection for their land, their 
water, and their livelihoods.
  Unfortunately, I have real reason to doubt Mr. Pruitt will take this 
responsibility and core mission of the EPA seriously in his new role. 
As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has built a long track 
record that is antithetical to the EPA's core mission to keep our 
Nation's land, water, and air clean. Mr. Pruitt repeatedly fought 
against the EPA as it implemented measures to safeguard our clean air 
and clean water.
  Rather than protecting the health of Oklahoma families, he has filed 
lawsuits against the EPA to stop rules that would have reduced smog and 
soot crossing State lines, protected against emissions of mercury, 
arsenic, acid gases, and other toxic pollutants from power plants, and 
improved air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.
  Mr. Pruitt has shown little regard for the safety of our drinking 
water, filing a lawsuit to stop the EPA's clean water rule, which would 
protect the natural filtering system that supplies drinking water to 
one out of every three Americans.
  Mr. Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA opposing even preliminary 
research into the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on our water 
resources. Mr. Pruitt has been a friend to polluters, helping them to 
use his office as a conduit for their special interests. He has sent 
letters on official letterhead to the EPA, the Department of the 
Interior, the Office of Management and Budget, and even to the 
President of the United States, copied and pasted nearly verbatim from 
language written by industry lobbyists.
  Perhaps most damning of all, Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly denied the 
scientific consensus on the human influence on climate change, 
including in an op-ed recently published in May of last year. It takes 
a willful disregard for data-driven science to ignore the increase in 
extreme weather events that we are now seeing on a regular basis, 
thanks to climate change.
  Just last Saturday in Mangum, OK, an all-time record of 99 degrees 
Fahrenheit was set on February 11. Imagine that; 99 degrees in the 
heart of winter. Folks, I wish I were making this up, but no snowball 
on the floor of the Senate can erase these facts.
  It was Mr. Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, who sued the EPA 
to prevent measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the very cause 
of climate change. Americans need a leader at the EPA who will take 
action on climate change, and we need someone who is guided in their 
decisions by the best available science.
  I have heard from thousands of New Mexicans who have made a strong 
case that Mr. Pruitt is not the right person for this job. I will not 
vote to confirm Scott Pruitt. But I will say that if my colleagues move 
forward with this nomination, they can be sure that we will hold Mr. 
Pruitt accountable for decisions that hurt the health of New Mexico 
families. That includes making sure Mr. Pruitt rights the wrongs 
inflicted on communities in the Four Corners region by the Gold King 
Mine spill. It is going to take many years to clean up the legacy of 
100 years of hard rock mining and the impacts on our watersheds in 
northwestern New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation.

  In New Mexico, we have a saying: ``Water is life.'' The water we 
drink and the air we breathe are not negotiable.
  My constituents in New Mexico cannot afford to see the EPA stop 
working to protect us from air pollution, to conserve our water 
resources, and to work to reverse the damaging effects of climate 
change.
  Madam President, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Madam President, I can tell you it is bittersweet to be 
here

[[Page S1386]]

today. As we sometimes say back home: I've got some good news; I've got 
some bad news. On the good news side, we are here today to confirm 
Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be the next Administrator of the EPA. 
While he should have been passed through the Senate weeks ago, we are 
here now. We are here today. We are going to get it done in a couple of 
hours. That is good news.
  As they say about Montana, we are a unique blend of Merle Haggard and 
John Denver, and mastering that melody is always a challenge. When you 
do, it results in a commonsense approach to environmental stewardship, 
and I can tell you Scott Pruitt is the guy to do it.
  I literally left my office to come here and make these remarks, and 
guess who I was meeting with in my office. It was Scott Pruitt.
  You know what we talked about?
  He came into my office. When you come into my office, you can see 
Montana all over the walls. You are going to see me with a fly rod in 
my hand. You are going to see pictures of trout that we have caught and 
released back into the streams and rivers of our State. We talked about 
fly fishing in Yellowstone Park. He loves to fly-fish.
  In fact, he asked to me: Do you know where Cooke City, MT, is?
  I said: Scott, Cooke City, MT? Let me show you. I have a map of the 
Beartooth in my office with pins in all the lakes that I have blown to. 
In fact, I spent 65 miles in the Beartooth Wilderness in August on 
horseback and on foot, above 10,000 feet, with an elk hair caddis and 
my fly rod, chasing golden trout and cutthroat trout. We spent a lot of 
time talking about that. We talked about elk hunting and deer hunting 
in Montana.
  Scott Pruitt understands the important role that States play, 
especially in a State like Montana. I am confident he is going to 
restore this balanced focus, this Merle Haggard and John Denver balance 
that Montanans are pleading for. He will bring that back to the EPA, 
rather than this heavy-handed Gina McCarthy out-of-touch Federal 
approach.
  Let me tell you a couple of stories of what is going on in Montana 
and why Scott Pruitt is exactly the right guy for the job. Today in the 
small town of Colstrip, MT, they face a real struggle to survive. 
Colstrip is a generating station and neighboring mine and the lifeblood 
of this small town.
  Over the years, the Colstrip plant has continued to develop. They 
have adopted new technologies, and they made remarkable reductions in 
emissions and pollution. Yet it has been met with an onslaught of new 
environmental regulations that are having drastic compliance costs on 
our State.
  Let me share some of those. Under this EPA power plan that was 
launched by Gina McCarthy, Montana needs to cut its emissions by 47 
percent--the largest reduction in the Nation, leading almost inevitably 
to the entire shutdown of Colstrip.
  In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Montana, 
they said this plan will cost our State 7,000 jobs, $500 million in 
lost revenues, and $1.5 billion in gross sales for our State. And 
Montana moves from being an energy exporter to being an energy 
importer. That is outrageous, and the people of Montana know it.
  For what? For what the Obama administration had projected to have a 
0.02-degree impact on global temperature in the next 100 years--
negligible. In fact, I confronted Gina McCarthy on that in a hearing, 
and she did not refute my data.
  Similarly, the waters of the United States serves yet another example 
of the detrimental effects of Gina McCarthy's and President Obama's 
EPA, which has harmed Montana's farmers and ranchers. As I mentioned, 
one of my favorite things to do is get into the fresh air of Montana, 
the clean waters of Montana, up in wilderness country with my fly rod 
in my hand. We all want clean water. We all want clean air. I have yet 
to meet a single Montanan who says I don't want clean air; I don't want 
clean water.
  The WOTUS rule was a clear effort by the Obama administration to gain 
control over Montana's livelihoods. It was a private property taking, 
seeking to regulate virtually every ditch and pond that could be 
occasionally wet across the State of Montana.
  While, thankfully, this incredible overreach by the EPA and the Obama 
administration has been stopped by the courts, I am looking forward to 
working with Scott Pruitt to defend Montana farmers and ranchers and to 
defend Montana property owners from this unnecessary and harmful rule.
  Scott Pruitt understands the important role our States play and not 
to levy unnecessary and overreaching Federal regulations--regulations 
that could decimate a State's economy. That is unacceptable.
  I will tell what you else I talked to Scott Pruitt about; that is, 
the importance of cleaning up our Superfund sites. This is a critical 
responsibility of the EPA. We need to unleash American innovation, 
American cooperation--not cut off affordable energy sources at its 
heels.

  Regarding Superfund cleanup, as Scott and I concluded our meeting, we 
talked about the Berkeley Pit in Butte. He has committed to getting 
that environmental disaster cleaned up. He assured me he will address 
these issues head-on.
  The largest Superfund site in the United States is right there in 
Butte, MT. We had snow geese that came across our State migrating. They 
landed in the toxic waters in the Berkeley Pit, and thousands of snow 
geese died just by landing in the water. Scott is committed to getting 
that fixed. It has been on the list for over 20 years. It is time to 
fix it, and Scott is committed, saying: Let's get this done.
  That is why he is going to be a great Administrator, to protect the 
environment in Montana.
  That is the good news. We are going to move Scott Pruitt through 
today, and I am looking forward to casting a ``yes'' vote for our next 
Administrator of the EPA.


                        Nomination of Ryan Zinke

  Let me share the bad news. Just this morning, Leader McConnell came 
here to move Congressman Zinke's nomination to be the next Secretary of 
Interior and debate that on the floor. Let's have unanimous consent; 
let's get that done.
  Guess what. The Democrats objected. Why?
  Ryan Zinke and I went to Boise State in 1979. He will be the first 
Cabinet appointee in the history of the State of Montana going back to 
statehood of 1889, and the Democrats are blocking us from getting that 
done today for no good reason.
  He passed with a bipartisan vote of 16 to 6 in the Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee. He is going to be an outstanding addition to 
President Trump's Cabinet. I don't understand why it is being blocked.
  We can get that done this afternoon--done. Let's get it done now. 
Instead, Ryan Zinke is being stopped from assuming his position as 
Secretary of the Interior. Guess what. We have a long list of things to 
do in Interior.
  I am the chairman of the National Park Subcommittee. We have a 
backlog of maintenance. We have to get Zinke in place now to start 
strengthening our national parks. He is going to be a great addition.
  I am pleading with my colleagues. I am asking why. Give me a good 
reason why you are objecting to moving Congressman Zinke's nomination 
forward now? Why are you holding up this historic vote for Montana?
  This will be the longest a President has waited for his team to be in 
place since George Washington. It is ridiculous. We need a Secretary of 
the Interior who will be a westerner, one who understands that Montana 
is that balance between Merle Haggard and John Denver; a Secretary who 
understands that, in Montana, our largest neighbor is the Federal 
Government; and a Secretary who understands how important our national 
parks are for us and for the 6 million folks who visit them every year. 
Ryan Zinke is a great guy for that job, but we can't even have a vote. 
So we wait.
  We wait on the Democrats' political games to unfold. We wait on 
Democrats' political posturing. We wait on the Democrats' next delay 
tactic.
  Montanans are saying: You know what, we are tired of these reindeer 
games. Let's put the President's team in place. Let's at least move 
Ryan Zinke through in the next couple of hours.
  That should not be a heavy lift, but they are obstructing putting 
Congressman Ryan Zinke, who is ready to go--

[[Page S1387]]

a Navy SEAL--to be the next Secretary of the Interior.
  Mr. GARDNER. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. DAINES. I will.
  Mr. GARDNER. I thank my colleague from the great State of Montana.
  During the debate on the floor just a while ago, we heard more debate 
on something that is very near and dear to my heart; that is, the 
matter of the Gold King Mine and the EPA's self-admitted responsibility 
on spilling 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas River in 
Colorado.
  The debate around the floor and my comments this morning have 
centered on the EPA's admitted liability and fault in spilling millions 
of gallons of sludge into a river, promising they would make the 
claims, pay for the injury that occurred, and then denying those claims 
and walking away.
  Had the private sector been involved, my question to the Senator is 
this: If the private sector admitted guilt in spilling 3 million 
gallons of toxic waste into a river, would they be held accountable?
  Mr. DAINES. I am not sure if that is a direct question or a 
rhetorical question. Of course, Cory--the Senator from Colorado--they 
would be held accountable, and that is why we need to hold the 
Superfund sites. We need to hold sites, like what happened here with 
the mine in Colorado--hold the EPA accountable for that.
  Mr. GARDNER. If the Senator would yield, what the EPA has stated is 
admitting fault, admitting and promising that they would pay for those 
who were injured, and then just weeks ago, as the previous 
administration was ending, they denied every single one of the private 
claimants. The Senator has talked about Scott Pruitt at EPA.
  When I spoke with the Administrator-designate of EPA, Scott Pruitt 
said they would make the private claimants whole; that they would pay 
the Navajo Nation; that they would pay the claims made by outfitters 
who were shut down.
  Will the Senator help me make sure that the EPA stands up to its 
obligations and recognize that Scott Pruitt--at both the EPW 
confirmation hearing and to me--has committed that the EPA will do what 
they did not do; that is, to make our citizens whole?
  Mr. DAINES. We will work together on that.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Madam President, I rise today to discuss the nomination 
of Scott Pruitt.
  I understand when we hit high noon, there will be time for prayer. 
You tell me, and we will yield back and get this done.
  I want to talk about the nomination of Scott Pruitt and how this 
important vote will impact my home State. So many folks call Montana 
home today because their parents or grandparents or great-grandparents 
pushed west to start a new life in the homestead era. My family is no 
different.
  I am proud and honored that my wife and I are still able to farm the 
land that my grandparents homesteaded over a century ago. I know that 
it does not matter if you are growing alfalfa, winter wheat, spring 
wheat, safflower, or garbanzo beans. I know it doesn't matter if you 
are raising cattle or sheep or hogs. You have to have access to clean 
water or you cannot succeed in agriculture.
  In Montana, agriculture is the number one industry. Local economies 
around our State are driven by that agriculture economy, whether it is 
farms or ranches. In a good year, our State's wheat production alone 
will clear a trillion dollars.
  This production not only helps create jobs and farms and ranches but 
it boosts the bottom line for the local grocery store, the hardware 
store, and local construction crews keep busy. Agriculture is the 
backbone of Montana's economy, but it is not the only industry in 
Montana that relies on clean air and clean water.
  Montana's outdoor economy is growing rapidly every year. Hunting, 
fishing, hiking, and camping generate over $6 billion and sustain over 
64,000 jobs in Montana each and every year. More folks are visiting 
Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks every summer.
  And when they visit, these folks spend millions of dollars in 
communities outside the parks. Communities like Gardner, Livingston, 
Coram, and Columbia Falls constantly have packed restaurants and bars 
and hotels, thanks to our clean water and our clean air. Folks are 
flocking to Montana because of those assets.


                                 prayer

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule IV, paragraph 2, the hour of 
12 noon having arrived, the Senate having been in continuous session 
since yesterday, the Senate will suspend for a prayer from the Senate 
Chaplain.
  The Chaplain, Dr. Barry C. Black, offered the following prayer:
  Let us pray.
  Almighty God, the fountain of blessings, may we rest and wait 
patiently for You. You are the Author and Finisher of our faith, so 
empower us to embrace Your precepts and walk in Your path.
  Lord, prepare our lawmakers to be instruments for Your glory. 
Inspired by Your Spirit, may they humble themselves, praying fervently, 
seeking Your face, and turning from evil. Respond to their fervent 
pursuit of You by bringing healing to our hearts, Nation, and world. 
Deliver our Senators from evil, and guide them around the obstacles 
that hinder their progress. Forgive them when they delay the good they 
can do now, waiting for a more convenient season.
  Lord, remember the many staff members and others who have worked long 
hours through the night. Compensate them for their sacrifices and for 
their commitment to You and country.
  We pray in Your great Name. Amen.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Madam President, folks are coming to Montana from all 
over this country because of our clean air and clean water and the 
habitat it provides. Not only Montanans, but this entire country 
respects clean air and clean water. In fact, in Montana, it is 
Montana's Constitution that says we value clean air and clean water.
  The reason we place such a high importance on clean air and clean 
water is because we see what happens when it is put at risk. On 
numerous occasions, Montanans have been victims to corporations who 
treated Montana like a Third World country. They reaped the value of 
our natural resources, and then they left the American taxpayer to 
clean up the mess. Folks like the Anaconda Company, W.R. Grace, 
Glencore, just to name a few.
  They left a mess. It wasn't the EPA that left that mess. It was these 
corporations, and it is the EPA's job to make sure they clean up this 
mess, not out of the pocketbook of the American taxpayer. These folks, 
these corporations, have put our clean air and clean water at risk. Not 
only did they contaminate the land, they contaminated our local 
economies. One of the largest Superfund sites in this country is in 
Butte, MT. It took 16 years, nearly $150 million to clean up just a 
portion--just a small portion of what the Anaconda Company left behind 
after mining copper in Southwest Montana.
  In Libby, hundreds of people have died, and over 1,000 people are ill 
because of asbestosis due to asbestos exposure. Even though a local 
vermiculite mine closed in 1990, folks are still getting sick due to 
asbestos-related diseases.
  And for years, I have been fighting alongside the folks at Columbia 
Falls, MT, to hold Glencore accountable to that community for the 
cyanide and arsenic they left abandoned on the banks of the Flathead 
River near the gateway of Glacier National Park.
  Companies that put our clean water at risk cannot be trusted because 
they never stick around to clean up the mess they have made. We have 
seen it firsthand. And that is why we need an EPA Administrator who is 
going to side with the American taxpayer, with local economies, with 
local families, and hold the polluters and contaminators accountable 
for their shortsighted actions.
  It is for these reasons that I cannot support Scott Pruitt's 
nomination for Administrator of the EPA. Throughout his career, he has 
consistently sided with the big polluters over the local businesses and 
the local families.
  I am not convinced that Mr. Pruitt understands the critical role that 
clean air and clean water plays in agriculture and our outdoor 
economies. In my conversations with Mr. Pruitt, I received no 
assurances that he will be a

[[Page S1388]]

champion for Montana's family farmers, ranchers, those who love to 
hunt, fish, and hike in Big Sky Country. Mr. Pruitt has endorsed 
policies that will put Montana jobs at risk and put our outdoor 
heritage on the ropes.
  Don't just take my word for it. Thousands of Montanans have contacted 
my office regarding Mr. Pruitt's nomination. Caitlin from Libby wrote 
me:

       No community understands the grave impact lack of 
     regulation or failure to enforce environmental regulations 
     can have on a community like Libby does. Four hundred people 
     died in Libby because W.R. Grace mined vermiculite that was 
     contaminated with asbestos. . . . These people died . . . 
     when they were just doing their job. Libby doesn't want or 
     need another person that looks the other way while big 
     corporations prey on hard-working people.

  Stephen from Corvallis wrote:

       I am a farmer in Montana, and I regularly use pesticides, 
     where I hope the EPA has my back to make sure these things 
     are safe for me and the environment. . . . Farming continues 
     to be less predictable, due to a change in climate. I want 
     someone in that position that has my back as a farmer, not 
     someone that questions broad scientific consensus.

  Rich is a retired public lands manager from Stevensville who wrote me 
saying this about Pruitt:

       Is not fit to be leading an agency responsible for 
     protecting wildlife, clean water, clean air, and leading the 
     charge of addressing a changing climate. Pruitt is anti-
     science, routinely disregarding well-established studies 
     involving climate change. I recently retired . . . the 
     thought of the possible damage and undoing of what I've lived 
     and worked for over my [entire] life by this man is 
     disheartening to say the least.

  Look, folks, the Earth's climate is changing. There is no ifs, ands, 
or buts about that. If we want to be able to continue to take our fly 
rod and go fishing down those rivers, you have to have somebody in the 
EPA who will ensure that we have clean water and clean air. I will tell 
you something that happened in Montana for the first time this year. 
The Yellowstone River closed. The bottom reason for it was the water 
warmed that much. If you are going to have good habitat for fisheries, 
if you are going to have good habitat for elk and big game hunting, if 
you are going to be able to go up in the mountains and hike, fish, 
bike, and do the things we do in Montana, you have to have somebody in 
the EPA that makes a difference.
  What we do today will not be felt today. It will be felt tomorrow. 
That is why today we need a man in the position of EPA who will fight 
for clean water and clean air. It is critical to our survival, no ifs, 
ands, or buts about it.
  Stephen, Caitlyn and Rich are right. We need folks in the 
administration who will stand up and understand the value of clean air 
and clean water. Unfortunately, the President has nominated someone who 
can't deliver. Therefore, I will oppose Mr. Pruitt's nomination and 
urge my colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Kennedy). The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator 
Peters be allowed to speak for 5 minutes, followed by Senator Carper 
for 10 minutes, followed by Senator Barrasso for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I stand today to express my opposition to 
the nomination of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Pruitt's track record does not 
demonstrate a commitment to addressing critical natural resource 
issues.
  As Oklahoma's attorney general, he joined forces with polluters to 
sue the Environmental Protection Agency again and again, to undermine 
the safeguards for clean air and for clean water.
  I am also dismayed he has not yet committed to recusing himself on 
those pending lawsuits, if confirmed. Not once, not one single time has 
he pressed the EPA for more action to protect public health or the 
environment. He has defined his career by undermining laws that prevent 
people from getting sick and safeguard the environment from 
degradation.
  In addition, Mr. Pruitt refuses to release thousands of emails 
related to his ties to special interests, including corporations that 
may have donated to his political campaigns. These connections to very 
big energy interests are relevant, given Mr. Pruitt's history of 
copying and pasting industry requests directly onto his attorney 
general office's letterhead.
  It is very difficult to fully evaluate his record without these 
emails made public. Just yesterday, an Oklahoma State district judge 
ruled that Mr. Pruitt's office will have until Tuesday to turn over 
these emails.
  Unfortunately, the Senate will vote on his nomination in just a 
moment, before these documents are released, and give the American 
people an opportunity to see what they contain.
  I would strongly urge that the nomination vote be postponed until 
these emails are released, and they can be fully considered. The EPA 
Administrator must be someone who is committed to improving and 
enforcing laws and regulations that safeguard clean air and clean water 
for all Americans.
  Mr. Pruitt's record of undermining critical health and environmental 
protections demonstrate that he is simply not the right person to lead 
the EPA. I urge my colleagues to oppose Mr. Pruitt's nomination.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, a few minutes ago, we stopped everything 
right here. Stopped. And the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate came in, Barry 
Black, retired Navy Admiral, and gave a prayer.
  We have a Bible study group that meets every Thursday. We met 
yesterday in Jim Inhofe's hideaway. Every time we meet, almost without 
exception, Chaplain Black reminds us, Democrats and Republicans--those 
of us who need the most help--he reminds us that of all the times the 
Scripture is invoked, we should ask for wisdom.
  Well, I ask for wisdom every night for myself, my colleagues in the 
Senate, over in the House, the President, the Vice President, their 
spouses, every night, that we have the opportunity to gain some wisdom.
  When Scott Pruitt was nominated to be the Administrator for EPA, I 
sent him a letter December 28, asking 52 questions, asking for 
responses by January 10. They didn't come by January 10. We had a 
hearing January 18. I got some answers, not all. One thing I also asked 
for, also asked for by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, was access to what 
the folks had been asking for from the Center for Media and Democracy 
for 2 years; that is, access to thousands of emails in the AG's office, 
and their back and forth with the fossil fuel industry, oil, natural 
gas, coal, a variety of others. We would like to have access to those 
emails.
  When Mr. Pruitt went before our committee for his hearing on January 
18, he was asked the question: Do you promise to provide information 
reasonably requested by committees here in the United States Senate and 
the Congress, including in electronic form? He said, yes, but he didn't 
do it. In fact, for 2 years, the AG's office fought off efforts to try 
to gain access to that information, electronic media. It took a judge 
calling an emergency meeting yesterday in Oklahoma to say to the 
attorney general's office: You have to turn this information over. 
Normally, you know how long a 4-year request takes in Oklahoma to get 
results like this? We are talking maybe 2 months. This was over 2 
years.
  Finally, we are going to get access to those emails. There may be a 
reason why they were so reluctant to share those emails with us. We are 
going to find out starting next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, when we 
get them. If we don't vote to support Senator Merkley's proposal, to 
put off the vote until the Monday after we come back from recess, we 
will not have the opportunity to take advantage of what the judge--I 
don't know if it is by Divine intervention, but this judge has given us 
the opportunity to gain wisdom, to make a smarter decision, to make a 
better informed decision. If we vote up or down on Mr. Pruitt's 
nomination today, we pass up a great opportunity to get a fuller 
picture.
  Now, my Republican friends will say: He sat through the longest 
hearing of any EPA Administrator in the history of our country. He has 
answered 1,000 questions.
  Let me just say that Gina McCarthy answered more when she was the 
last EPA Administrator. She answered more--quite a few more, actually. 
She took a little extra time to actually answer the questions.

[[Page S1389]]

  So many of the responses we got to the thousands of questions for the 
record asked of this nominee--the answers were evasive, they were 
incomplete, and sometimes they were just totally nonresponsive. You can 
say he answered all the questions, but how well? How thoroughly? How 
responsively? Not so good. Not so good.
  Friends, I want to put up here on the board--I have a board here. 
Let's look at the third one.
  Mr. President, how much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Five and a half minutes.
  Mr. CARPER. We have heard from a lot of folks, different views on 
what we ought to be doing. One of them was from a fellow whose name is 
Kyle Meyaard-Schaap. Who is Mr. Schaap? Good question. Mr. Schaap is 
the leader or one of the spokespersons from a group--if I can find it 
here; here we go--spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate 
Action.
  He wrote us about Mr. Pruitt's nomination. Here is what he had to 
say:

       If Scott Pruitt embraces his own self-described pro-life 
     stance, he should fight to protect vulnerable lives from 
     birth to natural death--the lives of children born and 
     unborn, the elderly, people of color--from environmental 
     pollution. He should work tirelessly to ensure that everyone 
     has clean water and air. He should strengthen, not 
     eviscerate, an agency equipped to honor God's mandate to 
     steward and care for the creation.

  Mr. Meyaard-Schaap goes on to say:

       As Oklahoma attorney general, however, [Mr. Pruitt] has 
     done just the opposite. He has had the chance to protect 
     people from pollution and the harms of climate change. 
     Instead, he has brought multiple lawsuits against the EPA to 
     overturn measures that would safeguard clean water and air. 
     He had the chance to defend policies that cut the power plant 
     pollution that fuels climate change and pollutes our air. 
     Instead, he cast doubt on climate change and downplayed the 
     moral imperative to safeguard our climate and environment. He 
     had a chance to assist EPA in its mission to protect public 
     health. Instead, he questioned its mission entirely and 
     sought to defend industry from regulation.

  We all have an obligation to protect the health of our children, 
families, and the world in which we live. For me, this is not only my 
responsibility as a parent and official elected to serve the people of 
Delaware, it is a moral calling.
  I sat for 8 years as a member of the National Governors Association. 
For 7 years, this lady sat right next to me. She was the Governor of 
New Jersey. She went on to become the Administrator of the EPA--the 
very position to which Scott Pruitt has been nominated. She is not a 
Democrat. She is not a progressive. She is not a knee-jerk liberal. She 
is a Republican. She was not only the Governor of her State for 7 
years, but she was the head of EPA for a number of years under George 
W. Bush. Here is what she basically said about Scott Pruitt, her words, 
not mine. She said: ``[I] can't recall ever having seen an appointment 
of someone who was so disdainful of the agency and the science behind 
what the agency does.'' That bears repeating. ``[I] can't recall ever 
having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the 
agency and the science behind what the agency does.'' Those are 
powerful words.
  Just as I think that the idea of waiting another week or so to get 
the wisdom that those thousands of emails might contain--we don't have 
to wait for the wisdom from this woman who has walked in these shoes, 
serving her State as Governor and serving this country as the leader of 
the Agency that protects our public health for all of us. My hope is 
that our colleagues will not ignore this wisdom.
  Lastly, I will say this: Come next Thursday, Friday, we are going to 
start getting the information from these emails. We will find out if 
there is fire where there is smoke or not. If there is nothing there, 
then there is nothing there, but if there is something there, I just 
want to say to my Republican friends, if you are ready to vote for this 
nominee without this complete information that we could have here to be 
put to use in a positive way within 10 days from now, you pass up a big 
opportunity.
  We are in a sense, by voting on this nomination without this 
information, flying blind. I am an old naval flight officer, 23 years 
as a naval flight officer, retired Navy captain. In Southeast Asia, you 
flew into monsoons and really bad weather sometimes. We never wanted to 
fly blind. We always wanted to have a good weather forecast. We want to 
avoid the places we ought to avoid. We wanted to fly at altitudes that 
were safe. We wanted to use our radars to be able to find the pockets 
to go through to be safe. We never wanted to fly blind.
  If we basically, before we close up shop, vote for this nominee with 
incomplete information, we are flying blind. It wasn't a very smart 
thing to do in naval aviation, and it would not be a smart thing for us 
to do here.
  This is not a warning; this is just friendly advice from one 
colleague to another: It is worth waiting an extra week to get this 
information rather than voting today without it. Again, the words of 
our Chaplain Barry Black always invoking us to ask for wisdom--I have 
asked for it. The wisdom that I would impart to all of us today: Hit 
the pause button. Get the information next week. Make our decision 
then.
  I yield back my time. Thanks so much.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, over the past weeks, we have seen 
Democrats continue to use one delaying tactic after another on the 
floor of the Senate. They have tried to slow down the confirmation of 
many of the administration's most important nominees. We have seen it 
time and again. We have seen it in agencies all across the government, 
including right now the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA. 
Democrats are just wasting time, and they are doing it intentionally. 
They are not protecting our environment, not one bit. They are not 
safeguarding the health of the American people, not at all.

  Government agencies like the EPA and one after another need their 
leadership in place and they need it in place now. What they don't 
need, what the American people don't need, is more political theater 
from the Senate Democrats.
  We have heard a lot about Scott Pruitt's nomination to be 
Administrator of the EPA. Much of what we heard from our colleagues on 
the other side of the aisle has simply not been true.
  I want to set the record straight. As head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt 
will protect the environment. During his 6 years as attorney general 
for the State of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has stood up to polluters, he has 
worked across State lines, and he has worked across party lines. He has 
done it to lower phosphorous levels in the Illinois River. He actually 
negotiated a water rights settlement with Oklahoma tribes. Why? Well, 
to preserve scenic lakes and rivers. He used commonsense policies. He 
used them to protect the environment in Oklahoma, and he will follow 
commonsense policies at the Environmental Protection Agency.
  The delays we have seen by Democrats have never actually been about 
Mr. Pruitt or his record or the answers he has given to questions about 
his qualifications. He has answered over 1,200 questions. He has 
answered four rounds of questions in committee, went for 6\1/2\ hours. 
Members on the other side said these were very fair hearings. These 
delays are all about obstruction. They are all about denying President 
Trump his Cabinet. That is what this is all about. It is about 
pretending that their candidate Hillary Clinton did not lose the 
election in November. That is what this is all about.
  We have seen them use the same tactics on one Cabinet nominee after 
another. As the Cabinet nominees were named, what we saw was a list of 
eight nominees come out who Senator Schumer had as his hit list of 
nominees he was going to oppose, slow down, obstruct, boycott. 
Democrats delayed. They delayed again. They delayed again. That is what 
we saw in one after another.
  When Scott Pruitt is confirmed today, he will take office later than 
any incoming EPA Administrator for any new administration going back to 
the 1980s.
  Our friends on the other side of the aisle need to recognize that the 
terrible precedent they are setting today with all of these relentless 
and needless delays will continue into the future. It is a precedent, 
just like the precedent that Harry Reid set when he changed

[[Page S1390]]

the rules of the Senate by breaking the rules. The Democrats need to 
see how their actions will continue to play forward, will affect the 
confirmation process for all future administrations, including 
Democratic administrations.
  The American people want someone in place to run these important 
Departments. What we see from the Democrats is political theater on the 
floor of the Senate.
  President Trump deserves to have his team in place. President Trump 
deserves to have his Cabinet in place. The Cabinet nominees deserve an 
up-or-down vote from the Senate on the floor of the Senate. That is 
what we are going to do today with Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who 
is qualified and who has been nominated to be the Administrator of the 
EPA.
  Scott Pruitt will protect our environment, and he will protect the 
health of all Americans. He is the right person for the job.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. BARRASSO. At the end of my remarks, I will yield for a question.
  So I say to you, as I come here to the floor, I chaired the 
Environment and Public Works Committee on Scott Pruitt's nomination. I 
listened to 6\1/2\ hours of testimony. I listened to and read through 
responses that he gave to 1,200 questions that were asked of him. He 
gave thorough answers--perhaps not the answers the Democrats wanted to 
hear but answers that I felt were responsive.
  So I come to the floor to urge all of my colleagues to support Mr. 
Pruitt's nomination to be the Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency. He is a nominee who, as attorney general in 
Oklahoma, protected the environment, worked to strengthen the economy, 
and stood up for States' rights, which continues to be most crucial.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield for a question.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, would my friend, the Senator from 
Wyoming, read back the part that he said earlier in the speech about 
Democrats doing this, the reasons we are delaying? Would he do me that 
favor?
  The reason I am raising this is that we had a parliamentary question 
back when Elizabeth Warren was speaking on the Sessions nomination 
which, I guess, the majority leader questioned whether she was, in that 
case, questioning the motives or actions of a fellow Senator.
  It seems to me that the Senator from Wyoming, whom I respect, was 
doing the same about Democrats in the Senate.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, responding to the Senator from 
Minnesota, I think he may be referring to a part where I say: The 
delays by Democrats have never actually been about Mr. Pruitt's answers 
to questions or about his qualifications. These delays, I say, are all 
about obstruction and denying President Trump his Cabinet. I go on to 
say: It is about pretending that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, 
didn't lose the Presidential election.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I have a parliamentary inquiry for the 
Parliamentarian.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will state his parliamentary 
inquiry, please.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, it seems to me that that is imputing to 
Democrats' actions and motives not becoming of a U.S. Senator.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Well, Mr. President, it is my--
  Mr. FRANKEN. I made a parliamentary inquiry, and I would appreciate 
an answer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. In the opinion of the Chair, they do not 
violate the rule.
  Mr. BARRASSO addressed the Chair.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Can I get some explanation?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, this is a very highly politicized 
situation. It is not my intention in any way to impugn any of the 
motives of any of the Members of this body.
  I yield back my time.
  Regular order.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, can I have a minute?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on the motion to extend 
postcloture debate.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, may I ask the Chair for permission to 
speak for a minute.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the Senator will proceed.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Thank you. I had no intention of actually filing a rule 
XIX objection. My point is--and the reason is because I didn't want to 
delay things.
  But we have a nominee here who has sued the EPA 18 times. The reason 
we are doing this is because we don't think this nominee is qualified. 
It has nothing to do with us not recognizing the results of the 
election, and I actually take offense to that.
  I don't know why the Presiding Officer ruled the way he did because I 
think it is obvious that it is imputing motives unbecoming to Senators, 
by saying that we don't recognize the legitimacy of the election and we 
are pretending that Hillary Clinton won the election.
  I am just raising this as a point, which is that Senators do this 
routinely, and if every time we raised a rule XIX on something like 
that, we would delay--if you want to accuse people of delaying the 
Senate--
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired. Begin to wrap 
up, please.
  Mr. FRANKEN. I appreciate it. I thank very much the Presiding Officer 
and I thank the Senator from Wyoming.
  I am just making a point here.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Regular order.


                    Vote on Motion to Extend Debate

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion to 
extend postcloture debate.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Indiana (Mr. Donnelly) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 47, nays 51, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 70 Ex.]

                                YEAS--47

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Hirono
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                                NAYS--51

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Cochran
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Lankford
     Lee
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Shelby
     Strange
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Donnelly
     McCain
       
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 47, the nays are 
51.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the votes 
following the first vote in the series be 10 minutes in length.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  There will now be 4 minutes of debate, equally divided, on the 
nomination.
  Who yields time?
  The Senator from Delaware.

[[Page S1391]]

  

  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I said repeatedly on this floor that I 
take no joy in discord and disagreement. I am not one who is interested 
in obstruction. I come from a little State like Senator Coons, where we 
get along pretty well. We believe in the three Cs--communicate, 
collaborate, compromise.
  But you know what else gives me no joy? I get no joy from rising sea 
levels from New England to Miami that threatens our way of life. It 
threatens our way of life. I get no joy from fish advisories that keep 
us from eating fish in every State in this country. I get no joy being 
one of the States at the end of America's tailpipe, where we get all 
this pollution from other States and end up with higher costs and worse 
healthcare. I get no joy from the millions of kids who go to school 
this week with their inhalers because they have asthma. I get no joy 
from people who appear before us as nominees, take 1,000 questions for 
the Record, and give us answers that in too many cases are evasive, 
indirect, or incomplete. I get no joy from nominees who appear before 
us who pledge to provide information requested by us responsibly, 
including electronic media, and never give it to us, who fight for 2 
years to make sure we never get it. I get no joy from those 
circumstances.
  Thomas Jefferson used to say: If the people know the truth, they will 
not make a mistake. We are prepared to vote here with incomplete 
information, without the kind of wisdom we could have and vote with if 
we would wait 10 days--10 days. That is what it would cost. Is that a 
long time? Ask Gina McCarthy. She waited 132 days to get a vote. If you 
think 1,000 questions are too many to answer, ask Gina McCarthy. She 
answered a lot more. Finally, the Republicans got their answers, and we 
got our vote. She won and, I think, did an admirable job.

  We need the truth. We are seeking the truth. I have no interest in 
obstruction. I want the truth.
  Vote no.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, for the past 8 years, the Environmental 
Protection Agency, through its regulatory rampage, has hurt a lot of 
people in my home State of Wyoming and all across the country. The 
EPA's overreaching regulations have stunted job growth, hurt our 
economy, and failed to help the Agency meet its mission. The mission is 
to protect the environment and the health of all Americans. The EPA 
needs to be reformed and modernized.
  Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt is the right person for the 
job. Mr. Pruitt is committed to protecting the environment, ensuring 
clean air, water, and land while also supporting a strong and healthy 
economy. He stood up to industry that polluted his State's air and 
water.
  He has received bipartisan support from Senators in this body, from 
State leaders, from small business, from farmers, from ranchers, and 
from many others across this country. Attorneys general from all around 
the country have recognized his good work. Attorney General Luther 
Strange of Alabama--now U.S. Senator Strange--and 23 of his peers wrote 
a letter in support of Mr. Pruitt's nomination.
  Here is what they wrote:

       The Administrator of the EPA plays a critical role in our 
     Nation's government. Attorney General Pruitt has proven, over 
     the course of his career, that he has the right character, 
     experience, and knowledge to serve as Administrator of the 
     EPA.
       We urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.

  I agree. I urge my colleagues to support the nomination.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Pruitt 
nomination?
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Indiana (Mr. Donnelly) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 52, nays 46, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 71 Ex.]

                                YEAS--52

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Cochran
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott
     Shelby
     Strange
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--46

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Collins
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Franken
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Donnelly
     McCain
       
  The nomination was confirmed.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote on the 
nomination, and I move to table the motion to reconsider.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion to 
table.
  The motion was agreed to.

                          ____________________