Dem senator on EPA chief's actions: 'I frankly find it galling'

Dem senator on EPA chief's actions: 'I frankly find it galling'
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Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (D-Del.) on Tuesday furiously addressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEnvironmentalists renew bid to overturn EPA policy barring scientists from advisory panels Six states sue EPA over pesticide tied to brain damage Overnight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules MORE, criticizing him for rolling back regulations, overlooking public health risks and critiquing former President Obama's policies.

In Carper's opening statement at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on EPA oversight, the ranking member rebuked Pruitt for not coming before the committee until almost a year after he took the helm of the EPA, comparing Pruitt's few appearances at Capitol Hill oversight committees to those of his predecessors.

"I'd note for the record that your immediate predecessor, Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Critics accuse Interior's top lawyer of misleading Congress | Boaty McBoatface makes key climate change discovery | Outrage over Trump's order to trim science advisory panels Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage Overnight Energy: Trump order to trim science panels sparks outrage | Greens ask watchdog to investigate Interior's records policies | EPA to allow use of pesticide harmful to bees MORE, appeared before this committee six times in two years, while her predecessor, Lisa Jackson, appeared before us 14 times in six years. You can do better on this front and it's important that you do," he said.

Tuesday's hearing was Pruitt's second appearance before a congressional oversight panel and his first in front of the Senate committee since taking over at the EPA.

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Carper continued with a litany of critiques for the administrator, who has worked to roll back regulations he's deemed unlawful and shrink the EPA budget and positions in order to "do more with less."

Carper specifically challenged Pruitt's decision to recruit more industry voices to science advisory boards and bar scientists who receive EPA grants from being members.

"EPA has replaced science advisers, who have worked on climate issues for years, with people backed by industry," Carper said.

He called the move "the height of irresponsibility."

The ranking member took specific issue with Pruitt's critiques of the regulations created under Obama. Pruitt has in the past called Obama's regulations overreaching and unlawful.

Carper said Pruitt's takedown of Obama was odd to him before he accused him of plagiarizing Obama's language.

"I don't say this lightly. You repeatedly misrepresent the truth about Mr. Obama's record. But to take the very same words that Obama used on countless occasions, and use them as your own, and then say Obama said the exact opposite is frankly galling," Carper said. "Stop doing it."