April 18, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin Join Udall, Castor and 165 Members of Congress in Calling for EPA Administrator Pruitt’s Resignation


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Following a series of reports exposing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s wasteful and exorbitant spending of taxpayer dollars, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) and 165 Members of Congress today in introducing a resolution calling for Administrator Pruitt to resign.

“It is abundantly clear that Scott Pruitt has abused the public trust by using his government position to finance his lavish lifestyle,” Duckworth said. “Pruitt has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on first-class plane tickets, private planes, luxury hotels, office furniture, and a large 24/7 personal security detail despite his own agency being unable to justify it. He’s the subject of no less than five independent investigations, he has retaliated against EPA staff who have questioned his spending habits, and he likely violated ethics rules by renting an apartment from an industry lobbyist. His behavior is absolutely unacceptable. Scott Pruitt must resign or be fired immediately.”

“Scott Pruitt has abused our environment, removed protections for our children and families, engaged in activity that creates clear conflicts of interest, and spent taxpayer dollars on frivolous luxuries,” said Durbin. “It’s time for the President to tell Mr. Pruitt, ‘you’re fired’.”

A total of 39 senators and 130 representatives helped introduce the resolution seeking Pruitt’s removal. The 39 cosponsoring senators is the largest number of senators in U.S. history to cosign a resolution formally calling for a cabinet official’s resignation. The full text of the resolution can be found here. The full list of Senate cosponsors can be found here and the full list of House cosponsors can be found here.

“This historic resolution sends an unequivocal message to the administration: the American public has lost faith in Scott Pruitt, and it’s time for him to go,” Udall said. "During his time in office, Pruitt has waged all-out war on the bedrock protections that keep our air and water clean, prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating our communities, and safeguard the health of our kids and families. He has done lasting damage to public health and safety – gutting the EPA’s core mission – all to benefit his campaign donors and grease the wheels for his big polluter friends. And at the same time, Pruitt has completely violated the trust of the American people and the standards of his office, with a list of ethical transgressions that grows longer by the day. Pruitt is administrator of the EPA, but he’s behaving like the emperor of the swamp. His imperial tenure needs to end.”

“There is a slime problem at the EPA – and it is coming from the administrator’s office,” Castor said. “Scott Pruitt’s wasteful spending and conflicts of interest are serious, and his assault on clean water and air pose dangerous risks to the health of children, families and communities across America. Pruitt sides with special interests and political donors over the public interest. Pruitt’s numerous and costly ethical violations, and his failure to protect the public health and the environment demands action by the Congress now. We have no confidence in Administrator Pruitt and he should resign now. Administrator Pruitt, who is already subject to five investigations, has been using his publicly funded security detail on non-official businesses, including trips to Disneyland, Paris, Rome and the Rose Bowl. All the while, his lavish travel expenses and misuse of taxpayer money go unaccounted for -- the damage that has been done to our economic and environmental health has proven to be too costly. I see the damage from the Pruitt EPA in Florida where our economy is tied to healthy and clean environment: According to a recent report by Environment Florida, industrial facilities have dumped excessive pollution into Florida waterways so many times that Florida is now in the top 10 states with the most exceedances reported by major industrial facilities because far too often these polluters faced no fines or penalties.”

Duckworth voted against Pruitt’s nomination to be EPA Administrator in 2017, citing his history of denying the science of climate change, past opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard, refusal to acknowledge the dangers of lead poisoning, and the many lawsuits he filed as Oklahoma Attorney General that attempted to undermine the EPA’s ability to carry out its mission.

Earlier this week, Duckworth asked a non-partisan government watchdog to investigate whether Pruitt’s EPA broke multiple federal laws by giving two top Pruitt aides significant salary increases without the appropriate authorization. Duckworth also recently introduced legislation that would require the Trump Administration – and any future administration – to publicly disclose how much they spend on travel in response to revelations that multiple Trump Cabinet Secretaries, including Pruitt, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars chartering private and military planes and purchasing first-class tickets. Duckworth’s bill would protect taxpayers by shining a light on the travel practices of Trump Cabinet officials, discouraging them from spending wasteful amounts of taxpayer dollars on needless luxury travel.