LAS VEGAS, NV— Local Latino elected officials, grassroots leaders and environmental groups gathered to demand U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) vote no on the confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
During the press conference, leaders called on Heller to stand up for Nevadans and communities across the nation by voting against Pruitt. They reminded supporters, including local DREAMERS and activists in attendance, that in his post as Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt actively worked against policies and protections for the Latino community, including environmental and immigration initiatives. Additionally, he sued the EPA— the agency he seeks to lead— a staggering 14 times in repeated efforts to undermine the agency’s legal authority and protections. And, in 2014 he joined a multi-state lawsuit filed in federal district court in Texas against President Obama’s executive order on DAPA and DACA, which he called “ill-advised, unworkable, unlawful, and brazenly political.”
His actions directly affect millions of undocumented, legal permanent residents, and citizens across the country— including Latino Nevadans— who face an elevated risk of cancer due to air toxic emissions from oil and gas development, higher rates of childhood and adult asthma and other respiratory illnesses. In Clark County there are more than 127,000 adults with asthma and more than 33,000 cases of childhood asthma.
“Our community cannot afford to have an EPA administrator who has directly threatened our health and well-being,” said Nevada State Senator Yvanna Cancela. “From joining a multi-state lawsuit against President Obama’s executive orders on immigration to filing numerous lawsuits against the agency he is now vying to lead, Scott Pruitt is not a friend of the Latino community in Nevada, Oklahoma, or elsewhere. In light of President Trump’s recent executive orders, Mr. Pruitt is not only a threat to our public health, but to our way of life. We need to hold Sen. Heller accountable and ensure he votes the right way and doesn’t support Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation.”
“Latino communities are among the most disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change, among our nation’s strongest supporters for healthy communities, clean water and air, and a safe climate for future generations,” said Rudy Zamora, program director of Chispa NV, a Latino organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. “Scott Pruitt is completely opposed to strengthening protections and policies to protect our public health. Sen. Heller has a responsibility to ensure that whomever leads the EPA accepts climate science and respects the mission and authority of this agency.”
“As the leading independent political voice on conservation in Nevada, we urge Senator Heller to stand by Nevadans and vote against Scott Pruitt’s EPA confirmation,” said Andy Maggi, executive director of Nevada Conservation League. “We need an EPA administrator who believes in– and will uphold– the agency’s mission of safeguarding the American people’s public health and our environment. Mr. Pruitt’s record indicates that he at odds with the work of the agency he aspires to lead, standing behind giant corporate polluters instead of the American people.”
“Latino Nevadans believe in clean air and water for themselves and their families,” said Artie Blanco, local advocate and community leader. “Having Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator would be a major step back not only for the Hispanic community– which is already disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change– but for the entire country. We cannot allow Mr. Pruitt to undo decades of work the EPA has done to protect our public health and environment. Furthermore, Mr. Pruitt has a record of not siding with immigrants, having joined several state attorney generals in suing President Obama’s executive orders on immigration in 2014. Having an anti-environment and anti-immigrant EPA administrator within the President’s cabinet is unfavorable to Latinos and to all Americans, which is why we urge Sen. Heller to stand up for Nevadans and vote against Mr. Pruitt’s confirmation.”