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Coalition Urges Maine Senators to Unite, Reject EPA Nominee

A broad based coalition is urging Sen. Susan Collins to join Sen. Angus King in opposing the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. (Natural Resources Council of Maine)
A broad based coalition is urging Sen. Susan Collins to join Sen. Angus King in opposing the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. (Natural Resources Council of Maine)
January 23, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine – With a vote possible as early as this week, environmental advocates are urging both of Maine's U.S. senators to unite in opposition to President Donald Trump's EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt.

The Trump transition team calls Pruitt an expert in Constitutional law, with a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on the environment and economy.

Becca Boulos, executive director of the Maine Public Health Association, has a very different take on what stands out on Pruitt's resume about the environment.

"My main concern about Pruitt is that, as Oklahoma's attorney general, he used his government position to advance the interests of gas and oil corporate lobbyists, over the needs of public health and environmental health," she points out.

Last week, 76 Maine scientists delivered letters to Maine's Independent U.S. senator, Angus King, and Republican Susan Collins, declaring Pruitt an unacceptable choice. King now plans to vote against the nomination. Collins is said to be undecided.

Pete Didisheim, advocacy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says the state has benefited from a good relationship with the EPA that has helped reduce air pollution and protect clean water. He says there's nothing in the record to show that Trump's nominee cares about protecting the environment.

"Maine's environment is just core to our quality of life, our economy, who we are as a state,” he states. “And Scott Pruitt, he's so hostile to EPA – he has spent most of his career relentlessly suing the EPA to block environmental laws that matter a lot to us."

Boulos says their broad based coalition of business, health and conservation groups also has concerns that Pruitt is a climate-science denier. She notes that's a sharp contrast to Collins, who has called climate change the "most significant environmental challenge" facing our country.

"For all Mainers, what I'd want them to consider is that we didn't have a say in the matter when Pruitt used his government position to advance the interests of lobbyists, but we have a say now,” Boulos stresses. “Susan Collins is a highly respected senator, and her voice matters, and so does ours."


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME