Farm Progress

Designated EPA-head Pruitt, the national lead in washing out WOTUS, promises to enforce Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

February 1, 2017

2 Min Read
CLEANING UP: Despite past lawsuits against U.S. EPA, Pruitt affirms Bay cleanup efforts.Aaron P. Bernstein/Stringer, Getty Images

While the gauntlet-run of his nomination hearing may be over for Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head U.S. EPA is still drawing unfriendly fire from environmentalists. Critics spared no ammunition in condemning the Oklahoma attorney general, who led a national lawsuit campaign to ditch EPA’s Waters of the United States rule.

But during the confirmation hearings, Pruitt applauded the cooperative federal-state partnership of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts and said he’d enforce the total maximum daily load pollution limits if necessary. He also promised to seek more federal funding to continue the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

Pruitt’s stance on Clean Water Act regulations wasn’t the only issue. “Mr. Pruitt’s record is clear: He fought to dismantle the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, anti-pollution programs that target ozone and mercury in the air, the agreement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed and denied the science of climate change,” charged U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. And, he promised to vote against Pruitt’s nomination. 

In his confirmation testimony, however, Pruitt noted he wasn’t totally in agreement with President Trump over climate change and air pollution regulations. He didn’t believe climate change was a hoax. "Science tells us the climate is changing, and human activity in some matter impacts that change," Pruitt said. "The ability to measure and pursue the degree and the extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue."

“The federal government, led by EPA, plays an essential role in the federal-state partnership to restore the Bay,” noted Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker in a surprisingly neutral press release. “Chesapeake Bay Foundation looks forward to working with Mr. Pruitt, should he be confirmed, to build on the progress that has been made and achieve the goal of restoring this national treasure.”

“Keeping nitrogen and phosphorus on the land where they are helpful, instead of in the water where they’re harmful, is the core of Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint,” added CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. “But implementation of practices to do so is dependent upon adequate investments in pollution reduction and enforcement.”

Again, Pruitt agreed.  

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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