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Rep. Pallone and Sierra Club Stand Against Trump’s Assault on EPA

February 23, 2017
Press Release

New Brunswick- Today, Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-06), the Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the New Jersey Sierra Club, stood against President Trump’s attack on the EPA and committed to defend the EPA’s vital programs to ensure we have clean air, safe drinking water, and a strong agenda to combat climate change. The event was held outside the EPA's Region 2 Laboratory and Environment Center in Edison, New Jersey, since the lab and its staff could be impacted by the Trump Administration’s cuts. Assemblyman Nancy J. Pinkin, State Senator Patrick J. Diegnan and Jeff Tittel of the Sierra Club were present at the event.

“My concern is that the Trump administration will weaken the EPA’s ability to protect our communities, double down on dirty fossil fuels and pipelines, and allow offshore drilling,” said Pallone. “We cannot move backwards on climate change, slow the development of clean energy, or allow drilling off New Jersey’s coast. We need to protect Americans’ fundamental right to clean air, clean water and a safe environment to raise their families. I am proud to stand with the Sierra Club and committed citizens against President Trump’s dangerous environmental policies.”

In his first days in office, President Trump announced his intention to nullify President Obama’s orders on climate change, pushed through pipelines without environmental reviews, and froze funding for vital programs. According to multiple press reports, Trump is planning to gut the EPA budget by $1 billion dollars, while cutting the EPA from 15,000 employees to 5,000 employees. These changes would have a devastating impact on New Jersey. In Region 2 alone (which includes New Jersey), there are 10 offices that work on issues from clean air to emergency and remedial issues, clean water, public affairs as well as enforcement and compliance. The proposed cuts could also impact cleaning up toxic sites, water quality testing as well as funding on climate change and the 319 program for stormwater.

“We are here today to stand up for the EPA from the ongoing assault by President Trump and Scott Pruitt. We are joining together because people in this country want clean air, clean water, toxic sites cleaned-up, and action on climate change. We are here to tell the EPA employees that we have your back and that we will keep fighting to protect America’s environment,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We are standing up to defend the EPA lab in Edison to make sure they are able to continue their important work and research. We will work to defend this facility so it can keep conducting research and testing on drinking water, Superfund sites, and other environmental hazards like the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The new EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, developed a record of attacking the EPA at the behest of energy companies while serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General. Email records released this week show Pruitt working with the energy industry to oppose EPA regulations on methane emissions and other important EPA regulations.

“Scott Pruitt leading the EPA is part of the Trump Administration’s triple threat to the environment. Pruitt is a climate change denier with clear ties to the fossil fuel industry and an agenda to dismantle the agency he is supposed to lead. Now that he is the new EPA Administrator we are concerned he will support Executive Orders to gut the EPA, remove its staff, and overturn all the progress made by the Obama Administration, which will be quicker than going through the EPA,” said Jeff Tittel. “By quoting e-mails from the oil and gas industry against regulations at the EPA, it is clear Pruitt works for Big Oil and Gas instead of the people in Oklahoma or the United States. Pruitt will not even recuse himself against the 14 lawsuits where he is currently suing the EPA, which is a huge conflict of interest. As Attorney General Pruitt lead the fight to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, while coming out against the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule. He even said he wanted to repeal the Waters of the United States Rule, which protects wetlands and prevents flooding. Given his record, Pruitt could allow industry leaders to write their own rules in order to pollute our air and destroy our environment.”

The EPA is responsible for responding to chemical spills, monitoring and combatting ocean pollution, and ensuring that our drinking water is safe and our air is clean.  Cutting EPA funding and staff will undermine all of those important responsibilities.

“We must come together to stop President Trump and Pruitt from turning the EPA into ‘Every Polluter’s Agency. If Trump moves forward with his plans to cut funding and eliminate jobs from the EPA, there will be no one left to make sure polluters are not violating the law, dumping toxic chemicals in our air and water, and on our land. That is why it is more important than ever to rally against Pruitt and Trump to take on their anti-environmental agenda,” said Tittel. “We fought 45 years ago for Congress to create the EPA and now we will fight all over again to keep the EPA from being dismantled.”