Family farmers and ranchers from across the country overwhelmingly supported the confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting this week in Phoenix, Arizona.
Farm Bureau members representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico on Tuesday urged Pruitt’s confirmation by adopting a resolution as the organization set its policy for the year.
“We spent eight years with our legal team fighting the EPA when they came against our farmers,” said Zippy Duvall, AFBF president. “Now, it looks like we might be helping our EPA hold to what they want to do and that’s regulatory reform and taking the burden off of farmers and ranchers and small businesses.”
With Pruitt at the helm of the EPA, Duvall said AFBF now can work with the agency rather than against it.
“We really think (Pruitt) understands the lawmaking process, he respects laws that Congress passes and he understands the limits of laws,” Duvall said. “He’s been a hero for us in working on Waters of the U.S. and we’re so excited about him taking that to the EPA. We think he’s going to be a great partner with rural America and farmers and ranchers across this country.”
During his tenure as the state attorney general, Pruitt led the charge in challenging the Obama administration on EPA regulations including Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan.
“We believe Scott Pruitt is the guy that can lead this agency back to its intended purpose, and AFBF is really supportive of that,” said Tom Buchanan, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president, who has worked with Pruitt to fight burdensome regulations on farmers and ranchers.
Pruitt will ensure the EPA follows the law, instead of creating laws, Buchanan said.
“We believe that we need protection for the environment, but not at the expense of small businessmen, family farmers and ranchers, and landowners,” Buchanan said. “Pruitt is exactly the breath of fresh air that we need to pull back the regulatory environment that has really choked America’s farmers and ranchers.”
Speaking at the OKFB annual meeting in November, Pruitt told Oklahoma farmers and ranchers he was confident that EPA’s onerous regulations would be repealed under the Trump administration.
“WOTUS, the Clean Power Plan and immigration orders are all going to go away,” Pruitt said. “So in this case, we’ve won. We won’t have to keep litigating.”
Pruitt must face a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works before being confirmed on the Senate floor. His hearing is expected to be held Jan. 18.