Kansas Senator maintains support of embattled EPA director Scott Pruitt

Bill Grady
May 02, 2018 - 7:02 am

© Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

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Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt is feeling a lot of political heat these days, but he has strong support from Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts.

Pruitt is under multiple investigations because of his alleged extravagant spending, including a $100,000 trip to Morocco, which was reportedly orchestrated by a lobbyist. He is also accused of hiring around-the-clock security for himself and giving staffers exorbitant raises. 

All of that aside, Roberts likes what Pruitt is doing at the EPA.

"He is making the agency a three-letter word instead of four," Roberts said. "I think he's doing a good job and I know he has the backing of the president, if we can get past some of these personal mistakes."

Roberts says Pruitt is helping eliminate regulatory red tape. Conservatives like the way he has reined in the agency, like reducing the scope of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Under WOTUS, the EPA claimed that it had authority to regulate non-navigable upstream water sources, including farm ponds and intermittent streams.

"Every member of congress, every member of the Senate knows what is copacetic, what you should be doing in terms of our ethics standards," Roberts said. "Maybe (Pruitt) erred in that capacity, but in his capacity as the EPA administrator, I think he's doing a great job."

About 170 members of congress, including some Republicans, want Pruitt gone.

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