EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addressed EPA employees on Tuesday after being approved by the Senate last week.
Former acting administrator Catherine McCabe introduced the 14th administrator and made opening remarks saying, “Our new administrator has not only a record for public service, but also business experience that will serve him well as he undertakes the new responsibilities of our agency. We look forward to working with you.”
Administrator Pruitt thanked McCabe for her service to the agency and introduced himself to the EPA staff.
“You don’t know me very well. In fact, you don’t know me hardly at all other than what you’ve read in the newspaper and seen on the news," Pruitt said. "I look forward to sharing the rest of the story with you as we spend time together. This is a beginning. It’s a beginning for us to spend time and discuss certain principles by which I think this agency should conduct itself.”
Pruitt expressed optimism that he and career employees will work together to move forward.
“I seek to listen, learn, and lead with you to address the issues we face as a nation. You can’t lead unless you listen. Civility is something I believe in very much," Pruitt said. "We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some very difficult issues and do so in a civil manner.”
He called for certainty in regulations.
“Regulations ought to make things regular," Pruitt said. "Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply. That’s really the job of the regulator, and the process we engage in. I seek to ensure that we engender the trust of those at the state level, that those at the state level see us as partners and not as adversaries.”
Pruitt expressed hope that growing the economy and protecting the environment can proceed hand-in-hand.
“I believe that we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment," he said. "We don’t have to choose between the two. I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure that we do the job of protecting our natural resources, and protecting our environment, while also respecting economic growth.”