Various Adirondack leaders cheer EPA chief’s resignation

Scott Pruitt (Official photo)

From environmentalists to the area’s Republican congresswoman, a range of leaders in the Adirondack Park expressed gladness at the resignation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik was among the first Republicans, in April, to publicly call for Pruitt to resign, and she was glad he did.

“It is time for new leadership at the EPA,” Stefanik said in a statement. “There have been too many ethical lapses under Administrator Pruitt’s watch, and this decision is in the best interests of the agency and our country.

“I look forward to working with our next EPA administrator to protect the environmental interests of our district, which is the proud home of the Adirondacks.”

The Adirondack Council, an environmental advocacy group based in Elizabethtown, has been outspoken in its criticism of Pruitt and also celebrated his resignation.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro (Photo — Adam Colver, Post-Star)

“As the Trump administration’s agent, he has spent the past two years refusing to protect Adirondack water and air from pollution, and delaying enforcement actions on the most basic of public health protections,” Executive Director Willie Janeway said in a statement.

“We were pleased to defeat him in court recently,” Janeway added, referring to recent rulings that ordered the EPA to take action to curb acid rain and smog in the Northeast caused by Midwest factories. Pollution-control equipment has been installed at those plants, but Pruitt refused to order use of it.

“Pruitt racked up a long list of scandalous actions that were not becoming of a public official,” Janeway said. “We are troubled by the legacy of demoralization he has created at the agency.

“We call on the next administrator to faithfully carry out the mandates of the Clean Air Act and work toward an effective plan to curb climate change.”

New York’s attorney general’s office has also battled Pruitt’s EPA in court, winning a suit similar to the Adirondack Council’s on the same day.

Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

“No matter who leads the EPA, my office will continue to hold the agency accountable,” interim Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement. “As we have proven again and again, when the EPA threatens New Yorkers’ health and environment, we will take the agency to court — and we will win.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said “good riddance” to Pruitt.

“Scott Pruitt was as reckless toward the planet as he was toward his own position in government,” Cuomo said in a statement. “He oversaw an historic attack on our environment, tried to roll back decades of progress and handed over the reins to big oil and gas.

“The Senate Democrats should stand united against any appointment who intends to continue Pruitt’s disastrous legacy. The EPA should be working with New York — and not against us — to address climate change, protect our water resources and ensure the health of our residents.”

Barbara Underwood (Photo provided by the attorney general's office)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Elk Lake Lodge in May 2016 announcing the state’s purchase of the 20,000-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, which was paid for using money from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. (Enterprise file photo — Justin A. Levine)