The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday August 13th

Letter: The environment shouldn’t be partisan


We hear the phrases “conflict of interest” and “pay to play” with such frequency that they have ceased to have an impact. However, in the case of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s almost as though these expressions were coined with Pruitt in mind, so egregious are his actions against the very agency he might lead.

It is a matter of record that Mr. Pruitt, in his capacity as state attorney general, has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests such as Exxon. He then immediately acted as their proxy in a multitude of ways, including the filing of lawsuits (even against the EPA) and legal motions that were in direct contravention to the interest of public health as it relates to the state of the environment. It is beyond the scope of this letter to enumerate all of Mr. Pruitt’s abuses, but they are as copious as they are deplorable. I encourage the public to educate themselves about this man’s record. This is not a partisan issue because both Republicans and Democrats need clean air and clean water to live healthy lives.

As President Kennedy said in 1963, “We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” For Mr. Pruitt to be confirmed as EPA chief by the Senate would effectively nullify the mission statement of this agency and put every American, even the wealthy, at risk.

Patrick Smyre


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