WASHINGTON, March 30, 2017 – An avid baseball fan, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt used the national pastime to get his message across to cattle ranchers gathered in Washington, D.C., today.

The first thing he told the audience at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association/Public Lands Council Legislative Conference was that next Monday, Opening Day of the major league baseball season, is “a very important day, a huge day” because of the hope it brings with it.

“This is an optimistic time of the year,” said Pruitt, played second base for the University of Kentucky and used to own part of a minor league franchise. “If the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series, anyone can,” he said, drawing laughs and applause from the crowd at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel.

He drew more applause when he mentioned President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order Feb. 28 “to get rid of the Waters of the United States rule,” which EPA quickly followed with a notice of intent in the Federal Register to “review and rescind or revise” the WOTUS rule.

Pruitt, a former attorney general of Oklahoma, repeated talking points he has offered at other gatherings, including his brief talk introducing himself to senior staff at EPA.

He plans to return “rule of law” to EPA. “We can only do that which Congress says we can do,” he said. Under the previous administration, he asserted, federal agencies were “making it up, pinch hitting” to “fill in the vacuum” left by a lack of legislative direction.

An example, he said, was the WOTUS rule, which “regulated puddles and dry creekbeds. That was never the intent of Congress.” In contrast, he said, “We’re going to get it right. We’re going to provide objective measurements” in order to provide clarity on which waters are regulated and which are not.

Pruitt also said he plans to “restore process” to rulemaking, which involves taking into account public comments, something he said the previous administration failed to do.

“We’re going to respect the process, we’re not going to abuse the process,” he said. “After all, you’re the ones that have to live with it.” Echoing comments made by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to the group earlier this week, Pruitt said, “Washington doesn’t have all the answers.”

As an example of how “process was breached,” he mentioned the agency’s proposal to revoke food tolerances for chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), a widely used organophosphate insecticide. On Wednesday, Pruitt signed an order denying the petition to revoke the tolerance, reversing EPA’s October 2015 proposal.

“We sent that message out yesterday – that process is going to be respected,” he said.

Pruitt said he wanted EPA to work more with the states. “It’s time that we partner again,” Pruitt said. “We all care about the clean air and clean water that we drink.”

Pruitt accused the Obama administration of trying to force Americans to “choose between the environment and growth…. between jobs and the environment.”

“No,” he said. “We can do both.”


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