Pruitt to testify on EPA agenda at House, Senate hearings

Pruitt to testify on EPA agenda at House, Senate hearings
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Rate of new endangered species listings falls | EPA approves use of 'cyanide bombs' to protect livestock | Watchdog says EPA didn't conduct required analyses EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog Is Big Oil feeling the heat? MORE will head to Capitol Hill twice in the coming two months to testify at a hearing on the agency’s agenda.

The first hearing announced Wednesday will be with the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s environment subpanel Dec. 7. It will be Pruitt’s first congressional oversight hearing since he took the helm at the agency in February, though he has testified at appropriations hearings.

Later Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced a Jan. 31 hearing featuring Pruitt.

The announcements come amid bipartisan pressure for Pruitt to come to Capitol Hill, nine months into his tenure.

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“We’re looking forward to receiving a much-needed update from Mr. Pruitt on his priorities for the agency, including his stated policy of getting EPA ‘back to the basics’ and its impact on the agency’s activity going forward,” Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the environment subpanel’s chairman, said in a statement announcing the Dec. 7 event.

“Following EPA’s controversial and expansive interpretation of its authorities during the past administration, it is past time for EPA to refocus on pursuing its important public health and environmental missions as Congress originally intended,” he said.

“It is important that EPA Administrator Pruitt testifies before the committee,” Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoLife after Yucca Mountain: The time has come to reset US nuclear waste policy Trump announces restart to Taliban peace talks in surprise Afghanistan visit Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda MORE (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Environment Committee, said a statement about his panel's hearing. “It will give senators the chance to hear about the important work being done at the agency to protect America’s air, land, and water.”

Democrats have been especially critical of Pruitt’s lack of hearing appearances.

“I must once again note my concern that Administrator Pruitt has yet to appear before this committee to testify on the EPA budget request, more than a month after the start of the fiscal year,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperLobbying World Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Democrats give Warren's 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder MORE (Del.), top Democrat on the Environment Committee, said at a recent hearing on EPA nominees.

This story was updated at 3:50 p.m.