House Republican says Pruitt should resign

House Republican says Pruitt should resign
© Greg Nash

Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Ensuring quality health care for those with intellectual disabilities and autism House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad MORE (R-Pa.) is calling on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief 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 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 CurbeloOvernight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress Democratic lawmaker pushes back on Castro's call to repeal law making illegal border crossings a crime MORE (Fla.), Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenRepublican Salazar seeks rematch with Shalala in key Miami House district Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm MORE (Fla.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRepublican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Rising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (N.Y.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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.