Trump’s Pick for EPA Threatens Civil Rights & Environmental Justice

December 7, 2016
Brooke Havlik, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, 212-961-1000 ext. 320,

Communities of color are most at risk with a fossil fuel ally in office

NEW YORK, NY – Today, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to administer the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While Trump himself has been quoted as saying, “We are going to get rid of it [The EPA] in almost every form,” Pruitt’s  record on climate and the environment is also of grave concern, especially for low-income residents and communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice.

WE ACT Executive Director, Peggy Shepard, has released this statement in response to the President-elect’s nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA:

“For 46 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s clear role has been to protect human health and the environment.  Under the Obama administration, the EPA worked to incorporate environmental and racial justice into all aspects of the agency’s work and move towards climate policies that make sense for all, given the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Today, we are unfortunately not shocked by President-elect Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.  The nomination of Pruitt signals a tremendous shift in governance to one that supports the elimination of critical environmental, climate, and public health regulations.

Pruitt has close, well-documented ties to the fossil fuel industry and adamantly opposes the Clean Power Plan, calling it “unlawful and overreaching.” Yet, the Clean Power Plan, while not perfect from an environmental justice perspective, would, if implemented,  reduce carbon from power plant emissions and minimize the impact of the climate crisis on communities of color and low-income communities, which are on the frontlines.  He has fought against life-saving regulations on toxic substances that prevent childhood asthma, cancer, and other health problems greatly impacting communities of color nationwide.

In the next four years, we expect policies protecting environmental justice communities and enforcement of those laws to be targeted, weakened, or altogether eliminated. From Standing Rock to Flint to Harlem, make no mistake that environmental racism is real. President-elect Trump’s appointment of Mr. Pruitt to the EPA and Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General signal that communities of color and low-income people will be disproportionately threatened by roll backs in environmental protection.  We call on Donald Trump to retract his nomination of Scott Pruitt and nominate a leader who truly stands for protecting human and environmental health. WE ACT will continue to be a fearless, leading environmental justice watchdog at all levels of government and double down on our organizing and advocacy efforts against discriminatory policies at the federal level.”

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