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Activist Criticism Again Misses Mark on EPA Nominee Pruitt

EPA Administrator-designate Scott Pruitt
In a previous post, which has since been discussed by Bre Payton of the Federalist, I wrote about a mendacious television attack ad produced by the Environmental Defense Action Fund. In a nutshell, the ad wrongly accuses Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate Scott Pruitt of denying mercury’s hazardous effects on human health.

Yesterday, the Sierra Club opened a new line of attack. After being queried by E&E News’s Benjamin Storrow about Pruitt’s association with a political action committee that received almost $210,000 from energy interests, the Sierra Club responded, “The fact that Scott Pruitt intends to take big cash from the very same big polluters he is supposed to be monitoring as EPA administrator is unprecedented and a clear danger to the health of our families.”

I was struck by the Sierra Club’s averment that Pruitt’s association with a PAC that took more than $200,000 from oil and gas interests is an “unprecedented” threat to “the health of our families.” Of course, President Obama has ultimate authority over the EPA, and he took more than $900,000 from oil and gas companies and their employees in 2008, according to U.S. News & World Report. It stands to reason that he reaped a similar haul when he ran for re-election. The upshot is that Pruitt is associated with a PAC that took in from the oil and gas sector only a fraction of the donations that Obama accepted. So it’s implausible to argue that Pruitt’s actions are “unprecedented.”