GOP rep ‘concerned’ about EPA chief’s climate comments

GOP rep ‘concerned’ about EPA chief’s climate comments
© Greg Nash

A Republican congressman has told Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to “reevaluate” his statement that carbon dioxide is not a “primary contributor” to climate change. 

In a letter to Pruitt released on Monday, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said he is “concerned” about Pruitt’s comments from earlier this month, which “contradict the conclusions not only of our best scientists but of your own agency.”

Curbelo said Pruitt should reconsider the comments and invited him to visit his south Florida district, which he says has already been affected by climate change. 

“Reasonable people can disagree about how to respond to the risks of climate change. But there should be little disagreement that it is something that must be done,” Curbelo wrote in his letter, sent Friday.

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“I urge you to consider how you can put your own agency to work to achieve solutions that will provide good jobs, economic growth, and a safe climate for us and future Americans. That begins with clearly and honestly communicating the best scientific understanding we have available today.”

Environmentalists and Democrats panned Pruitt’s statement earlier this month that he “would not agree that [carbon dioxide emissions are] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” The statement is out of line with the conclusion of most climate scientists, including those within the EPA. 

Some Republicans joined in criticizing the comments. In a March 10 statement, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said they were “disconcerting and troubling.”

Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen are among the group of House Republicans that introduced a resolution last week acknowledging humans’ impact on climate change and calling for more work to address it. 

Pruitt, who clashed repeatedly with the EPA when he was attorney general of Oklahoma, is reportedly on board with major cuts at the agency, including many intended for climate change programs.