Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke’s confirmation hearings begin this week kicking off a busy week on the Hill for climate and environment hawks facing three crucial back-to-back cabinet hearings.
While Zinke is believed to have a fairly smooth path to getting the Interior Secretary job, he will probably face questions around his various positions on federal lands—particularly the issues of transferring ownership to states and heartening fossil fuel development on federal lands.
His muddled stance on climate science, numerous financial ties to the oil and gas industry, and financial irregularities in his Navy career may also get time in the spotlight.
“Senators have a duty to clear up Rep. Zinke’s confusing and, frankly, conflicting record,” Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said. “He’s spoken against selling off public lands but backed a recent measure allowing just that. He’s supported land and water conservation efforts but also indiscriminate oil and gas extraction on public lands. He’s both acknowledged and questioned climate change. And he’s put polluters ahead of people after accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil, gas and mining industries.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmation hearings for Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, will begin on Wednesday, and expected to be this week’s main event.
Green groups and the fossil fuel industry have been preparing all week for a grand showdown over Pruitt’s provocative nomination, and Senate Democrats have indicated that they’re prepared to dig in their heels and block the climate denier from heading an agency he was once hell-bent on destroying.
SHADY FINANCIAL TIES
Over the weekend, Pruitt’s frequent shady financial ties to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate benefits snatched the spotlight again, as numerous outlets highlighted the numerous ways that campaign contributions may have influenced his decisions as attorney general.
On Monday, 13 former heads of state environmental protection agencies sent a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recommending they vote no on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. EPA.
The letter reads:
“As former heads of state environmental protection agencies, we have had the honor—and the responsibility—of ensuring that our states’ residents enjoy clean air, safe water and access to conservation land. We write to express our views on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency —and thank the Committee for this opportunity.
“While we have worked under both Republican and Democratic Governors, reflect a range of political views, and come from diverse states, we share a common concern about Mr. Pruitt’s nomination. His record, particularly as a litigator against many EPA rules, causes us to question whether he appropriately respects science-based decision making, and understands the important role that EPA must play in the ‘cooperative federalism’ model that undergirds our nation’s environmental laws.”
- Trump Nominees Distance Themselves from His Climate Rhetoric
- Trump Nominees Should Answer These Climate Questions
- Trump’s nominees raise concerns for your rivers and Clean …