New Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt says that America should not have to choose between the economy and the environment, telling staff that he plans to 'listen, learn and lead'. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, told agency staff on Tuesday that America should not have to choose between the economy and the environment. As the White House prepares executive orders to roll back Obama-era green regulations, Pruitt struck a conciliatory tone in an address to agency staff, saying he would "listen, learn and lead." "I believe that we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment. We don't have to choose between the two," he said in his first speech to EPA workers since he was confirmed as administrator by the U.S. Senate last week. "I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure that we do the job of protecting our natural resources, and protecting our environment, while also respecting economic growth," he told the room of about 70 staff at EPA headquarters in Washington. Many Republican lawmakers view Pruitt, who sued the agency he now leads more than a dozen times as the attorney general of Oklahoma, as a refreshing change at the top of an agency they accuse of federal overreach and killing jobs. But Democrats, environmental advocates and many of the EPA's current and former staff worry his appointment signals a reversal in America's progress cleaning up air and water and fighting global climate change.