PA Health Professionals, Faith Leaders Highlight Public Health Threat of Trump’s EPA Pick to Citizens

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[HERSHEY, PA] — Hours prior to President-elect Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania for his “Thank You” tour, health professionals and faith leaders discussed the threat to Pennsylvanians posed by his cabinet nominees.  They specifically highlighted the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, despite his denial of basic climate science.   

“Pennsylvanians deserve an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator who will protect their health by following the science and implementing policies that put them above dirty energy special interests.  President-elect’s nominee Scott Pruitt does not meet this criteria,” said David Masur, PennEnvironment Executive Director.

Currently, Attorney General Scott Pruitt is leading an effort by major polluters and multiple states to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan.  In the past, he has also doubted the basic science behind climate change—despite the fact that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is happening and manmade pollution is a major factor.

“The central mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to address and protect the public health and as such this agency must have a leader who values the lives of all Americans.  As a nurse and educator of future public health leaders, I do not think Attorney General Scott Pruitt meets this standard,” said Dr. Kelly Kuhns, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Nursing at Millersville University.

Unfortunately, many people who voted for President-elect Trump will bear the brunt of the damage from climate change.  A recent PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center study found that nearly 9 in 10 Pennsylvanians live in national disaster areas due to weather-related storms that could have been exacerbated by climate change.  These storms caused major flooding that damaged communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania and droughts that threatened agriculture in the central part of Pennsylvania that President-elect Trump won.

In addition to his efforts to undermine climate action, Attorney General Scott Pruitt has also sued the EPA over a rule that restored Clean Water Act protections to 48,000 miles of Pennsylvania streams.  Those protections will help keep toxic pollution out of our streams that has contributed to mutant bass in the Susquehanna River and which poses health risks to the more than 8 million Pennsylvanians who get their water from those waterways.  

“Whether you’re a day hiker, a weekend sport fisherman or a backyard gardener, you need to know that unless we act now to cut carbon pollution, climate change will drastically alter our work places and our favorite places to play,” said Dr. Robert Little, a local doctor in the Harrisburg area and member of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Harrisburg.

Since the nomination, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has spoken out against the nomination of Scott Pruitt for Attorney General, calling it “very troubling”. Specifically, Senator Casey highlighted Attorney General Pruitt’s effort to overturn the Clean Power Plan and deep concern over the nominee’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.  Senator Toomey has yet to comment on the nomination. 


PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting air, water and open spaces. The organization investigates problems, crafts solutions, educates the public and decision-makers, and helps the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates.