Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined together with eight of his fellow attorneys general from across the country in urging the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In a letter, sent Tuesday, the attorneys general argue that Pruitt is "openly hostile" to the EPA's mission of working with state, local and tribal governments to protect human health and the environment, and as attorney general, has made attacking the regulations that the EPA is charged with enforcing a key priority.
"This is not just a matter of policy difference; Mr. Pruitt has sought to tear apart the very notion of cooperative federalism that forms the foundation of our federal environmental laws," the attorneys general wrote. "That cooperation makes it possible for states and the federal government, working together, to protect the health of the American people and the resources on which we depend."
Attorney General Kilmartin added, "I am deeply concerned that Mr. Pruitt, if confirmed, will abandon the critical measures we as a nation have taken in cutting dangerous emissions, reducing carbon pollution, and protecting our environment."
The letter cites that Pruitt has filed a number of lawsuits seeking to block the EPA from fulfilling its obligations under the Clean Air Act. He has also been a vocal critic of the EPA's Clean Power Plan, and was part of a group of states that challenged the rule and obtained a stay of its implementation last year.
Attorney General Kilmartin also recently sent a letter to President-Elect Trump urging him to continue the federal government's defense of the Clean Power Plan, regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and to continue EPA's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan, along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, will control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The rule for existing plants is expected to eliminate as much pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year - or 70% of the nation's passenger cars.
The EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan through a multi-year stakeholder process that drew heavily on the experience of states and utilities in reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions. Pruitt, as the Attorney General for Oklahoma, has led the effort to gut the Clean Power Plan.
The letter is signed by the attorneys general of Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawai'i, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.