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 PruittTrump's relocation of the Bureau of Land Management was part of a familiar Republican playbook Understanding the barriers between scientists, the public and the truth Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official 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 BarrassoWatch: GOP leaders discuss Biden's first year in office McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection 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 CarperNearly 200 Democrats back EPA in Supreme Court emissions case Bottom line Biden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  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.