Citizens who have submitted comments to the EPA about proposed regulations express concerns about the impact Scott Pruitt could have as director on clean water, air and land. SHANE BEVEL / The Frontier

Citizens who have submitted comments to the EPA say they are concerned that Attorney General Scott Pruitt would roll back protections for land, air and water. SHANE BEVEL / The Frontier

Adrienne Weiss didn’t mince words when she wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency about Scott Pruitt’s nomination to become its director.

“Sorry that all your hard work will be undone with Scott Pruitt dismantling the EPA,” her Dec. 28 letter began.

“We are doomed,” wrote Weiss, of Monroeville, Pa.

Weiss is among those who have submitted comments to the EPA about various environmental issues while also expressing fears that Pruitt will roll back decades of progress.

While there are relatively few public comments about the Oklahoma attorney general on file since his nomination to lead the EPA, they are likely to increase after Pruitt’s confirmation hearing Wednesday before the U.S. Senate and Public Works Committee.

Pruitt’s nomination has drawn criticism from environmental groups and Democratic senators. It has been supported by a coalition of conservative groups and energy industry associations.

The EPA solicits public comments on its proposed rules and regulations and receives millions of comments on important rule changes.

Weiss, of Monroeville, Pa., was one of more than 20,000 people who commented on EPA’s emissions standards for light cars and trucks for model years 2022-2025. The agency has determined it will not amend the Clean Air Act to make those standards more or less stringent.

The rule is intended to limit greenhouse gasses that are causing global warming.

“I know the EPA has trouble standing up to the fracking industry but all that will be undone the minute you leave office to Scott Pruitt,” Weiss wrote. “Have you ever visited to see all the fracking industry accidents? I know the EPA has trouble standing up to keep water and air clean for America and we are doomed.”

Weiss wrote that enacting tougher emissions standards in 2012 “was one of the most
critical steps the U.S. has taken to avoid catastrophic climate changes but much of the promise of that rule will be lost with the Trump administration; that ship has sailed. … It is a shame that it is all for naught.”

Pruitt’s office has declined multiple requests for interviews and comment from The Frontier. A website set up to promote his confirmation contains fact sheets and videos responding to opponents’ criticisms.

An anonymous commenter also supported the emissions standard while expressing concern about Pruitt leading the EPA.

“Our country cannot go back to a path of sacrificing our children and children’s futures by putting money ahead of the environment and their future planet,” the commenter wrote.

“If the automakers are given relief by having these emissions standards changes paused until the new administration takes office, they will surely be revoked by the incoming administration and their hand-chosen climate change denying chief, Scott Pruitt.”

The commenter said relaxing standards on auto emissions standards “cannot happen! Please implement the proposed changes so the new administration does not have an easy way to erase 8 years of progress!”

Rosemary Mason, of South Wales, UK, wrote about the dangers of the herbicide glyphosate, known by its tradename, Roundup. Her letter recounts a list of concerns about cozy relationships between regulators in the UK and United States and ag behemoth Monsanto.

“Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General, has been appointed as Head of the US Environmental Protection Agency,” she wrote. “I think the EPA should clean up its act before he arrives.”

Attorney General Scott Pruitt talks about his lawsuit against the EPA seeking documents. The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge as overly broad. Photo courtesy of News9

Attorney General Scott Pruitt talks about his lawsuit against the EPA seeking documents. The lawsuit was dismissed by a judge as overly broad. Photo courtesy of News9

However, not all commenters shared such dark views of Pruitt.

An anonymous farmer commenting on a proposed pesticide regulation wrote: “Leave the only good insecticide we have left in wheat and alfalfa for aphid control alone. I hope Trump, a Republican controlled congress and Scott Pruitt whittles the EPA down to to a $5 budget!”

Pruitt’s name also surfaces in many past comments leading up to passage of existing pollution rules.

“I strongly support the EPA’s effort to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants,” wrote Angela Spotts, in 2014.

Spotts was one of the founding members of the group “Stop Fracking Payne County.” She moved out of state last year, largely due to the earthquakes that frequently rattled her home.

“Living right in the middle of a state that has our AG Scott Pruitt standing up for the industry not the people he represents! He does not represent me or my family and our desire for a safe place to live with clean air and water! Please hear our plea!”