LAS VEGAS, NV— Today U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, LCV’s Chispa NV, and the Nevada Conservation League and Clean Air Project held a round table and press conference in Las Vegas to discuss the future of Nevada’s public health, clean energy economy, and important environmental safeguards following the confirmation of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator.
“Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA administrator is not a mandate to gut the agency tasked with protecting our environment,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I will oppose attempts to roll back key protections that could cause irreparable harm to our environment and put the health and safety of our communities at risk. Few Americans have a better understanding of the consequences of not acting to curb pollution and protect our environment than Latinos. Latinos and other minorities are more likely to live in neighborhoods with higher levels of pollution and often suffer from serious respiratory illnesses due to pollution. We should be working together to prevent future suffering, not undercutting basic, common sense measures that ensure the air we breathe is not polluted and the water we drink is free of contaminants. I will not allow the health and safety of Nevadans and future generations to hang in the balance while President Trump and Pruitt launch an unprecedented assault on our public health and our environment.”
During the press conference, Senator Cortez Masto and environmental leaders and advocates also discussed how Scott Pruitt’s decisions as EPA administrator will affect the state’s clean energy sector, which creates jobs, reduces pollution, and helps address climate change. Nevada has a record of standing in favor of the clean energy Pruitt seeks to stifle. The state has already attracted $5.5 billion in renewable energy investments, and continued investment could bring in more than $5 billion in wages and create an additional 92,000 construction jobs.
“Unfortunately for Nevadans and against our wishes, Senator Heller voted in favor of Scott Pruitt’s nomination as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, putting special interests and corporations, who pollute into the community, first and leaving our communities interests last,” said LCV’s Chispa Nevada Program Director Rudy Zamora. “Families in Nevada do not understand how a person whom has sued the EPA multiple times and is a climate denier, will now be leading the EPA. It’s hard to understand how Scott Pruitt can do a good job fighting for Nevadans’ families when he is a threat to our health, children and next generation.”
In addition, Pruitt’s actions directly impact Nevadans of color who face an elevated risk of cancer and higher rates of childhood and adult asthma, as well as other respiratory illnesses due to air pollution. In Clark County, for example, there are more than 127,000 adults with asthma and more than 33,000 cases of childhood asthma. At the state level, nearly 210,000 Nevadans suffer from asthma. If Pruitt’s track record is any indication, he will continue to put polluter profits first at the expense of our health, our economy, and our national security.
“Senator Cortez Masto has already proven herself to be a champion for the environment when she voted against Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency and when she supported our public lands such as the designation of Gold Butte as a national monument. We are happy to meet with her today and discuss the ways we can protect our community’s air, water, and wildlife and continue to grow our clean energy economy in Nevada,” said Vinny Spotleson, Program Director for the Nevada Conservation League.