WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez released the following statement after voting against advancing the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“As a Senator elected to protect the health of New Jersey’s people, sustain our precious shores and water supply, and stand up to Big Oil, I cannot support the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be EPA Administrator. In fact, his nomination is antithetical to the very mission of the EPA, and is dangerous to our planet and the health of every single person on it.

“As Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt acted as if his job was to shield polluting corporations rather than to protect the public interest. He used his power to help polluters by trying to dismantle every protection we have for clean air and clean water. He sued the EPA repeatedly to allow more mercury in your air and more chemicals in your water because that’s what corporate interests told him to do. He has refused to answer questions from Congress about these dubious dealings, which signals his plan to continue being a shill for polluters once at the EPA.

“Scott Pruitt’s record harkens back to a time when rivers caught fire from pollution, smog blanketed our cities, and corporations dumped toxic waste freely throughout our communities. We are all healthier and safer because of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the protections of the EPA, but Scott Pruitt’s nomination puts all of that at risk.

“The EPA is particularly critical in New Jersey, as we work to address lead hazards, expedite cleanups of toxic waste sites through the Superfund program, and protect our residents from air pollution from neighboring states. I do not understand how Scott Pruitt can effectively lead an agency charged with protecting the environment when he spent his career protecting polluters.

“His record tells me that he has no intention of carrying out the EPA’s mission; instead he will attempt to sabotage the very department he’s been asked to lead. Therefore, I will vote against his nomination.”