Scott Pruitt Urged to Recuse Himself From Clean Power Plan Repeal Proceedings

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Scott Pruitt Urged to Recuse Himself From Clean Power Plan Repeal Proceedings

WASHINGTON - 12 environmental groups and legal advocates today called on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to recuse himself from the Clean Power Plan regulatory proceedings and for the EPA to withdraw the proposed repeal. In a letter the groups said that Pruitt’s comments and actions demonstrate a closed-minded commitment to rescinding the landmark effort to curb power plant climate pollution, making his participation in the rulemaking process unlawful.

“Pruitt was dancing on the grave of the Clean Power Plan before the rulemaking process had even begun,” said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s clear Pruitt is hell-bent on killing this crucial climate protection for his friends in the fossil fuel industry, no matter how many lives the rule would save.”

Pruitt was an outspoken opponent of the Clean Power Plan while he was Oklahoma attorney general, initiating lawsuits to dismantle it before the rule was even finalized (each dismissed as premature). Since becoming the EPA Administrator, Pruitt has continued to decry the Clean Power Plan as unlawful and indicated his unalterable decision to repeal it.

In today’s letter the groups note that Pruitt is unable to engage openly and dispassionately in the rulemaking proceedings, so his participation violates due process and bedrock principles of administrative law.

The Clean Power Plan would reduce carbon emissions from power plants, the nation’s largest stationary source of planet-warming pollution. According to the EPA’s own recent analysis, the rule could also prevent up to 4,500 premature deaths per year by 2030. However, in October Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the rule without committing to any replacement.

Signatories of the letter include the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club. The groups’ letter comes after a coalition of 19 states and municipalities similarly demanded Pruitt’s recusal on Jan. 9

“The Clean Power Plan would address the dirty power-plant pollution that chokes our communities and fuels catastrophic climate change. But Pruitt’s politically charged rhetoric shows he is willfully blind to the critical protections the rule would provide our lungs and our climate,” Pardee said. “His participation in the repeal proceedings makes a mockery of the regulatory process while our health and planet hang in the balance.”

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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