WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today delivered remarks introducing Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt at the EPW hearing entitled: Hearing on Nomination of Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
Thank you Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and colleagues for this opportunity. I am honored to introduce my friend, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and to offer my support for his nomination to be the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Though neither of us were born in Oklahoma, we both got there as fast as we could and made the Tulsa area our home.
Attorney General Pruitt grew up in Kentucky and was enough of a baseball standout in high school to earn a scholarship to the University of Kentucky where he earned the reputation for being driven and a winner. Attorney General Pruitt finished his undergrad at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, and then graduated from law school at the University of Tulsa in in 1993, where he remained and became a practicing attorney specializing in Constitutional Law.
In 1998, Attorney General Pruitt ran and was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate where he served for 6 years. He quickly became a standout of the party. Indeed, success has followed him from his law practice, to the State Senate, to become co-owner and managing general partner of Oklahoma City’s Triple-A minor league baseball team, and currently, as Oklahoma’s Attorney General.
Through the course of his career, Attorney General Pruitt has stood out as a champion of state and individual rights and has fought against federal overreach. He has earned a reputation as a defender of the rule of law and has worked to keep the role of the federal government in check.
As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General Pruitt will ensure that the agency fulfills the role delegated to it by the laws passed by Congress – nothing more, nothing less. Oklahoma is an energy and agriculture state, but we’re also a state that knows what it means to protect the environment while balancing competing interests.
As Attorney General, Scott was instrumental in negotiating a water rights settlement between the State, Oklahoma City, and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations – a dispute that dates back to the 19th Century. The negotiated settlement maintains tribal sovereignty and environmental conservation guidelines while also guaranteeing Oklahoma City’s access to a vital drinking water source.
He has also worked with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to protect Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers from upstream pollution. In fact, the executive director of DEQ credits Attorney General Pruitt’s actions and insistence on using sound science with the fact that Oklahoma’s desired water standard was preserved.
Additionally, in 2012, Oklahoma partnered with New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas to bring together state officials, conservation groups, energy and agricultural industries, and other private landowners to address the challenges facing the Lesser Prairie Chicken – an effort that saw success in its first year and continues to do so. Despite endorsing the plan, the Fish and Wildlife Service moved forward with listing the species as threatened, endangering the cooperation reached by these varying interests. As Attorney General, Scott sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for ignoring this unique cooperative agreement and won.
Yes, as Attorney General, Scott Pruitt has fought the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the out-going administration on many fronts, but all of these suits were brought to protect state and local interests from overzealous and activist executive agencies. Over the last 8 years, the Obama Administration has advanced a radical environmental agenda, has exhibited a deep distrust of state governments and private landowners, and has worked to obstruct the fossil fuel industry and agriculture producers, the most ardent protectors of the environment. These are industries and interests that Oklahoma relies on. And far from being an enemy of the environment, Scott has proven himself as the expert at balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship.
It is my belief that Attorney General Pruitt will return the Environmental Protection Agency to its proper role as a steward of the environment, acting within the bounds prescribed by Congress and the Constitution.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to enter into the record an op-ed in support of Attorney General Pruitt from Scott Thompson, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.