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Nearly 800 former EPA officials oppose Trump pick for agency

Staff Writer |
Nearly 800 former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials urged the U.S. Senate to reject President Donald Trump's nominee to run the agency.

The chamber moved closer to approving his pick, Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of oil-producing Oklahoma.

The 773 former officials signed a letter organized by the nonprofit group Environmental Integrity Project that said Pruitt's record and public statements suggest he does not agree with underlying principles of environmental laws.

As attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times on behalf of Oklahoma and he has cast doubts on the science of climate change.

"Mr. Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing those laws, a critically important function for EPA," the letter said.

Pruitt's efforts to challenge the EPA's authority reflected "a fundamental lack of understanding and respect for the vital role that EPA plays in ensuring clean air and water for every American no matter where they live or their color or creed."

Those are words by Joseph Santarella, an EPA enforcement lawyer under former Republican and Democratic administrations, who signed the letter.

A state judge Thursday ordered Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office to turn over what could be thousands of documents to a liberal group that has sought them for two years.