More than four hundred former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Monday opposing Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, selected by President Donald Trump to head the environmental agency.
Kathy Setian, a resident of San Francisco who worked for the EPA for 20 years as a former project manager and environmental engineer, announced the list at an anti-Trump organizing meeting ahead of a #NoBanNoWall march Saturday.
"One of my main messages is that EPA regulations are absolutely necessary to protect human health and the environment," Setian said. "Before there were regulations we contaminated the land, the air, the water to a wide extent and it was so expensive to clean it up. It’s much more costly to clean it up after the damage is done."
Identifying themselves under a variety of EPA functions such as environmental scientists and engineers, librarians and attorneys, the letter emphasized its bipartisanship as having "served under both Republican and Democratic presidents."
"Collectively, the 447 represent decades of experience in environmental protection," Setian said.
She credits the president for unifying those on the list, as she said "it takes a lot for conservative engineers" to speak out.
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"Our nation has made tremendous progress in ensuring that every American has clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and uncontaminated land on which to live, work and play," the letter states. "Mr. Pruitt’s record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not share the vision or agree with the underlying principles of our environmental laws. Mr. Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws, a critically important function for EPA."
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While the statement is just under three pages, signatures extend the document to 20 pages.
Concerns ranged from inaction on environmental protection cases to conflicting business interests and proposed cuts to environmental enforcement.
Setian said attacks on EPA are based on a false idea that we can either have jobs or have environmental protection.
"They think environmental protection is costing them jobs," Setian said. "We must have both and if don’t have both, we’ll have neither."