Las Vegas, NV — U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), LCV’s Chispa Nevada and the Nevada Conservation League held a roundtable and press conference to discuss the future of Nevada’s environmental safeguards, public health, and clean energy economy following the confirmation of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator.
“Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA administrator is not a mandate to gut the agency tasked with protecting our environment,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I will oppose attempts to roll back key protections that could cause irreparable harm to our environment and put the health and safety of our communities at risk. Few Americans have a better understanding of the consequences of not acting to curb pollution and protect our environment than Latinos. Latinos and other minorities are more likely to live in neighborhoods with higher levels of pollution and often suffer from serious respiratory illnesses due to pollution. We should be working together to prevent future suffering, not undercutting basic, common sense measures that ensure the air we breathe is not polluted and the water we drink is free of contaminants. I will not allow the health and safety of Nevadans and future generations to hang in the balance while President Trump and Pruitt launch an unprecedented assault on our public health and our environment.”
During the press conference, Senator Cortez Masto, environmental leaders and advocates discussed how Scott Pruitt’s decisions as EPA administrator put the state’s transition to a clean energy sources in jeopardy. Nevada has a record of supporting clean energy policies and that would create jobs, reduce pollution, and slow the effects of climate change – all of which Pruitt seeks to stifle. The state has already attracted $5.5 billion in renewable energy investments, and continued investments could bring in more than $5 billion in wages and create an additional 92,000 construction jobs.
“Senator Cortez Masto has already proven herself to be a champion for the environment when she voted against Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency and when she supported our public lands such as the designation of Gold Butte as a national monument,” said Vinny Spotleson, Program Director for the Nevada Conservation League. “We are happy to meet with her today and discuss the ways we can protect our community’s air, water, and wildlife and continue to grow our clean energy economy in Nevada.”
Administrator Pruitt’s actions will directly impact Nevada’s communities of color who face an elevated risk of cancer and higher rates of childhood and adult asthma, as well as other respiratory illnesses due to air pollution. In Clark County, for example, there are more than 127,000 adults with asthma and more than 33,000 cases of childhood asthma. At the state level, nearly 210,000 Nevadans suffer from asthma. If Pruitt’s track record are any indication, he will continue to put polluter profits first at the expense of our health, our economy, and our national security.