From the February 7 "Making EPA Great Again” hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:
REP. DON BEYER (D-VA): Thank, Mr. Chairman. You know, a lot of attention has been paid to the title of today’s hearing: Making the EPA Great Again. But under President Obama, the EPA took aggressive action to tackle climate change, which most scienstists agree is the major threat to the planet and to the human race.
We will not help anyone by disputing climate science with stories from white nationalist websites like Breitbart.com or tabloids like the Daily Mail. Scott Pruitt, the president’s nominee to head the EPA, has sued the agency 14 times over its effort to regulate the oil and gas industry and has not said whether he would recuse himself from ongoing cases against the EPA. This is not a recipe for greatness.
The new administration has scrubbed the EPA’s website, it’s frozen its grants and contracts, it’s placed what amounts to a gag order on EPA employees, and requested names of employees who worked on climate change. A Trump transition official suggested cutting the agency’s workforce by two-thirds, and a bill introduced by a fellow Republican would eliminate the EPA altogether. Mr. Chairman, this is not greatness.
Alarming environmental disasters, like revelations on the consequences of pesticides, and cities covered in smog, and rivers catching on fire spontaneously drove a Republican president, President Richard Nixon, to create the Environmental Protection Agency. And since then the EPA’s legacy has been one of great achievement.
The EPA has achieved so much in recent years, often over the misguided objections of this committee and a Congress, which has tried to make things worse. Mr. Chairman, members of the fellow science committee, please, please listen to the science community. Climate change is real. And environmental problems can’t be wished away or pretended away because they’re going to affect us, our children, and future generations.
This committee should be leading the charge to protect the planet and our environment for future generations. And instead it attacks the credibility of scientists, casts doubt on accepted science, makes life difficult for the people trying to solve urgent crises. The science committee’s contribution now is like that of the emperor Nero, fiddling while Rome burned down around him. This is irresponsible and dangerous, it is not leadership, and it will not make the EPA or America great. In fact, I think we should re-title this hearing, that we keep the EPA great.