Pruitt affirms ‘back to basics’ agenda is under way at EPA

Dec. 7, 2017
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator E. Scott Pruitt told a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee that EPA is moving forward on refocusing the agency on its core mission: restoring power to states through cooperative federalism and improving policy processes while adhering to the rule of law.

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator E. Scott Pruitt told a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee that EPA is moving forward on refocusing the agency on its core mission: restoring power to states through cooperative federalism and improving policy processes while adhering to the rule of law.

“Many people don’t know we’re at pre-1994 air-quality levels today. We need to celebrate progress we’ve made as a country in reducing pollutants. It has been a collaborative process with local governments and the private sector, but there’s more work to be done,” Pruitt said as he appeared before the committee’s Environment Subcommittee.

In written testimony, he said EPA has established priorities for the next 4 years in each of its core mission areas—land, air, and water—as well as chemicals.

“The agency will focus on speeding the cleanup of Superfund sites. We will work with states to more rapidly review submissions of state implementation plans for attaining air quality standards. We will work to make water cleaner and safer by helping to update aging infrastructure, both for drinking water and wastewater systems,” Pruitt said.

EPA also will collaborate more efficiently and effectively with other federal agencies, states, sovereign tribal nations, local governments, communities, and other partners and stakeholders, Pruitt said. EPA intends to enhance its direct implementation of federal environmental laws on Native American lands where tribes have not taken on that responsibility, he said.

“Recognizing the congressionally intended responsibilities of our state, local, and tribal partners, we must adapt and modernize our practices to reduce duplication of effort with authorized states and tailor oversight of delegated programs,” he said.

“Additionally, EPA recognizes the advances states and tribes have made in implementing environmental laws and programs. This administration will undertake a series of initiatives to rethink and assess where we are and where we want to be with respect to joint governance,” Pruitt said.

Contact Nick Snow at [email protected].