House Republican says Pruitt should resign

House Republican says Pruitt should resign
© Greg Nash

Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Overnight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal MORE (R-Pa.) is calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Justices take up major case on water rules | Dems probe administration's dealings with Saudi Arabia | Greens sue EPA over toxic paint strippers Environmental groups sue EPA in bid to ban toxic paint strippers Overnight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds MORE to step down, joining a small handful of GOP lawmakers to do so in recent months.

“Yes, I do,” Fitzpatrick said at a news conference Monday in Horsham, Pa., when asked if he thinks Pruitt needs to resign.

“My standard for calling for resignations is an [inspector general (IG)] report, an IG study, finding some facts, conclusions of law. And there’s way too much stuff now,” he continued, according to video recorded by activist environmental group Friends of the Earth.

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Fitzpatrick said he made his call due to Pruitt’s spending and ethics scandals.

But he also said “Exhibit A” in the case against Pruitt is a study that the EPA allegedly tried to block from public release.

The study looked into the health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of man-made chemicals that have been found in drinking water sources lately.

In an email made public last month, an unidentified administration official said the PFAS study drafted by a Department of Health and Human Services agency would be a “public relations nightmare” because it would show health harms at a much lower exposure rate than the EPA had previous estimated.

The congressman and Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) called their news conference Monday near a military base in suburban Philadelphia where firefighting chemicals containing PFAS have leached into local water supplies.

That draft study was released last week, and the EPA has said it is committed to properly considering whether the substances need new regulations.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox defended the actions of Pruitt and the agency on PFAS.

"This was not an EPA study and thus not our report to release," he said in a statement.

"From our historic national PFAS summit with representatives from over 40 states, first-ever community engagement listening session in New Hampshire today, to our four-step action plan, Administrator Pruitt is taking decisive action to eradicate PFAS from our drinking water."

GOP Reps. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trey Gowdy joins Fox News as a contributor MORE (Fla.), Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenComstock joins K Street firm Yoder, Messer land on K Street Ex-GOP lawmaker from Washington joins lobbying firm MORE (Fla.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikGOP announces members who will serve on House intel panel Bipartisan House group introduces bills to stall Syria, South Korea troop withdrawals House votes on 10th bill to reopen government MORE (N.Y.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoLoBiondo launches consulting firm Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — George H.W. Bush lies in state | NRCC suffers major hack | Crunch-time for Congress MORE (N.J.) all previously called for Pruitt to step down or be fired.

Fitzpatrick, a freshman, is facing a tough reelection battle this year in a race that election-watchers like the Cook Political Report have declared a “toss-up.”

— Updated at 9:07 p.m.