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Sierra Club Accuses Pruitt of “Abandoning” Oklahoma to Help Texas Coal Plants

The Oklahoma Sierra Club is accusing EPA chief Scott Pruitt of abandoning his home state to help Texas polluters.

Johnson Bridgwater, director of the Sierra Club’s Oklahoma Chapter made the accusation.

“Scott Pruitt just made it clear that he plans to abandon the residents of his home state to placate Texas polluters who don’t give a second thought about Oklahoma families or its natural places,” he said in a recent press release. “Since taking his post, Pruitt has made clear over and over again that he isn’t the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, he is a servant to coal companies eager to find ways around our environmental safeguards to make a buck.”

His claim came after Pruitt asked a court to abandon stronger clean air protections against Texas coal pollution by placing mandated and Clean Air Act standards to improve air quality on hold again. Bridgwater maintains the protections, already a decade overdue would have given Oklahoma billions of dollars in public health-related benefits.

The Sierra Chapter leader says the benefits would save Oklahomans more than $771 million a year by preventing more than 2,100 asthma attacks, 78 deaths and 9,400 missed workdays caused by pollution from nearby Texas coal-fired power plants.

“To address the problem, Congress required this pollution reduction to clear the skies at places like the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge,” said Bridgwater. “Pruitt now seeks to cast aside part of the Texas regional haze plan which requires states to develop plans to clean up pollution and improve air quality at national parks and wilderness areas.”

Bridgwater was joined by Stephanie Kodish, director of National Park Conservation Association’s clean air program, in attacking Pruitt’s plan.

“With this action, EPA is using our public lands as garbage bins for collecting air pollution instead of treating them as the iconic places they are, belonging to all Americans.”