A Letter from Dianne Feinstein

On the day of the Women’s March I spent a lot of time writing to the White House, Jerry Brown, Senator Feinstein, Kamala Harris, the EPA, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. I have gotten notes from many of these, but this letter from Dianne Feinstein was the most gratifying. I am proud to live in California and to be represented by individuals who care as much as I do.

If only Senator Feinstein was in charge of the EPA or the country……


Dear Lily:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about presidential nominees for federal departments and agencies.  Your correspondence informs my work in the Senate, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Many Californians have expressed their concerns to me about the individuals President Trump has selected to lead federal agencies responsible for enforcing critical laws that protect the environment and public health.  Like you, I believe that the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other foundational environmental laws must be duly enforced.  I also agree that the federal government should hold those who pollute our land, air, and water accountable for the costs associated with that pollution, not American taxpayers.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I work each year to secure funding for core federal regulatory programs that safeguard American communities, consumers, and the environment from toxic pollutants.  I therefore believe that federal regulators must be led by well-qualified appointees with a demonstrated commitment to public service.

The U.S. Constitution requires presidential nominees to secure the “advice and consent of the Senate” during a fair but thorough vetting process.  Non-Supreme Court presidential nominees only require a simple majority to be confirmed by the Senate.  As the senior United States Senator for California, I promise to scrutinize rigorously any nominee put before the Senate by President Trump.  In my view, those who serve the public—especially in senior roles within the federal government—should be held to the highest possible standards for personal ethics and competency.

Furthermore, federal agencies and environmental regulations should be guided by the best available science.  I hope that President Trump will nominate individuals who understand the importance of science-based analysis in decision-making and will lead federal agencies with integrity in the best interests of the country.  President Trump should avoid nominating individuals with clear personal conflicts of interest or those beholden to special interests.  The American people deserve no less.

President Trump nominated state Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R-OK) to serve as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In his capacity as the elected Attorney General for Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has sued the federal government repeatedly in attempts to block EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other critical environmental laws.  Mr. Pruitt has also expressed skepticism toward the overwhelming scientific consensus on man-made climate change.  In my view, accepting the science demonstrating man-made climate change is essential for any nominee who aspires to lead a federal environmental agency.

President Trump also nominated Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT) to serve as Secretary of the Interior.  As you may know, the U.S. Department of the Interior has jurisdiction over many federal land management agencies, including those responsible for making permitting decisions for oil, natural gas, and mining leases on federally owned public land.  Our public lands are a sacred trust that must be protected.  As such, I believe strongly that any permitting or leasing decision affecting federally managed lands must serve the best interests of the American people.

Please know that I have made note of your concerns about President Trump’s nominees to lead important environmental regulatory and federal land management agencies.  During my time in the Senate, I have worked tirelessly to uphold protections that safeguard American communities from toxic pollutants and minimize environmental degradation.  I have also worked to preserve California’s pristine natural areas and iconic wildlife for future generations to enjoy.  Rest assured that I will keep the issues you raised in mind as the Senate considers President Trump’s nominees.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write.  I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you.  If you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact my Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at feinstein.senate.gov.  Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator
Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the nation are available at my website, feinstein.senate.gov. And please visit my YouTubeFacebook and Twitter for more ways to communicate with me.

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