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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Pruitt Confirmation Vote This Week

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Monday, February 13, 2017   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Ahead of a Senate confirmation vote this week, environmental groups in Missouri want U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt to speak up about President Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for the job, and that choice is controversial. Hundreds of current and former EPA employees are urging a "no" vote, and the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy has sued Pruitt in a move to get him to release records detailing his communications with energy companies.

John Hickey, director of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club, says state residents deserve to hear from Blunt about how he's voting.

"Missourians depend on the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to have safe air to breathe and safe water to drink,” he states. “Scott Pruitt will not provide that for us, and we need Sen. Blunt to tell us which side he's on. "

Last year Pruitt said scientists continue to disagree whether climate change is real, but last month broke with Trump, who said it's a hoax invented by the Obama administration.

Pruitt has sued the EPA several times, including over the Clean Power Plan, and has accused the agency of flouting congressional rules and ignoring the desires of states.

Hickey credits the EPA for taking steps to protect Missourians.

"Just a few weeks ago the EPA won a federal lawsuit, demanding that Ameren Electric clean up the air pollution from the Rush Island Coal Plant,” he states. “The Environmental Protection Agency used the Clean Air Act recently to clean up air in Kansas City by stopping the burning of coal at the Veolia plant in downtown Kansas City."

Hickey says Blunt's job is to work for the people of Missouri.

"I would encourage Missourians – Democrat, Republican, Independent, anybody that breathes, anybody that drinks water – should be calling Sen. Blunt and saying, 'We need an EPA that will fight for us, not an EPA that will roll over and let the polluters do what they want,'" he stresses.

The Sierra Club accuses Pruitt of conspiring with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA protections while he was Oklahoma's attorney general. The group says putting Pruitt in charge of the agency is like hiring an arsonist to fight fires.




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