WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today held a hearing with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt regarding the agency’s mission, his “Back to Basics’ concept, and his efforts to refocus the agency on pursuing its important public health and environmental missions as Congress originally intended.
In his questioning, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), spoke to the agency’s promptness in replying to committee oversight requests, commenting “In addition, our committee has submitted at least five letters to your agency seeking records and documents and information. In the past administration it was very, very difficult to get responses to many of our requests. We appreciate the fact that we have received more than a thousand pages of documents on grant management issues. I also want to say we appreciate the numerous bipartisan briefings you and your team have provided, especially in light of the hurricanes that took place. Know that when we send a letter we want a response.”
“You also stated that EPA should ‘operate within the statutes that Congress passes and not reimagine authority to pick winners and losers.’ That sounds like you are headed in the right direction,” said #SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus. “We support analyzing regulatory barriers to determine whether they create unnecessary burdens or impede job creation and we want to work with you to make sure that EPA develops and implements regulations that protect the environment while promoting growth and creating jobs.”
EPA Administrator Pruitt listens to member opening statements
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, discussed his willingness to refocus the agency’s mission, stating, “EPA will seek to improve its processes and reinvigorate the rule of law as it administers environmental regulations as Congress intended, and to refocus the agency on its core statutory obligations. I am a firm believer that Federal agencies exist to administer laws passed by Congress, as intended. Along with faithfully following the Rule of Law, improving the processes by which EPA has operated will be crucial as we refocus the Agency. Over the years, outside the regulatory process, well-funded special interest groups have attempted to use lawsuits to force federal agencies – especially EPA – to issue regulations that advance their priorities.”
“I expect that ‘Back to Basics’ is not an abdication of environmental protection, but rather a rededication to mastering the most fundamental aspects of EPA’s mission – whether it’s cleaning up Superfund sites, ensuring that safe drinking water is being piped into people’s homes, or keeping air clean and safe to breathe,” concluded full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “I look forward to working with the administrator and seeing him back here in the future to discuss our mutual efforts to protect the public and the environment.”
A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online here.