Following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit to a local coal mine, the Center for Coalfield Justice and Sierra Club Beyond Coal hosted a press conference where Pennsylvanians gathered to criticize Pruitt's efforts to put polluter profits ahead of communities health and environment.
Speakers criticized Administrator Pruitt and his “back-to-basics” plan for EPA, which he introduced at a visit to Consol Energy’s Harvey Mine. Speakers said it amounted to little more than a plan to take away lifesaving environmental and public health protections and permit unlimited pollution from fossil fuel companies. Randy Francisco, Organizer with Sierra Club Beyond Coal stated, "When Administrator Pruitt says he wants to get the EPA “back-to-basics” we all know he wants to send the agency back to the days before the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, laws which have protected Pennsylvania families from harmful pollution for decades. And to launch his polluter-friendly agenda, Pruitt choose a mine that was fined $3 million for Clean Water Act violations just last year.”
Pruitt’s visit comes on the heels of the President’s ‘dirty energy’ executive order, which aimed to roll back pollution limits like the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and as the President calls for a 30 percent cut to the EPA’s budget, including enforcement activities and mine cleanup. Veronica Coptis, Executive Director, Center for Coalfield Justice said, “If Administrator Pruitt cares about the coalfields, he would help rebuild our local economy for the long term, as programs in the CPP would have done. Interfering with pending rules and removing existing standards will not save the coal industry and will only limit resources for worker retraining and economic diversity, all while killing our streams and degrading the places our families enjoy.”
Speakers concluded by committing to hold the Trump Administration and Administrator Pruitt accountable for protecting public health and promoting, not restraining, the growth of Pennsylvania’s strong, clean energy economy. Sarah Grugas, a student organizer with the Fossil Free Pitt Coalition said, “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is risking my future for polluter profits. Rolling back regulations will only accelerate climate destructions and threaten my ability to live the American dream. My generation won’t stand for it; we are committed to protecting our future.”
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April 13th - WJPA: Pruitt visit sparks rally