Democratic Control of U.S. House Means Investigations Into Trump’s EPA

House Committee Hearings Will Likely Probe Hiring of Industry Lobbyists, Suppression of Science, and Rollback of Public Health Protections

Washington, D.C. –  Democratic wins in a majority of U.S. House districts during yesterday’s election will allow much-needed scrutiny by Congressional committees of the Trump Administration’s dismantling of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to Environmental Integrity Project Executive Director Eric Schaeffer.

“The election results mean that voters will get to see – for the first time – real oversight by the U.S. House of the Trump Administration’s subversion of the Environmental Protection Agency, including its hiring of industry lobbyists to run the agency, suppression of science, and rollback of important public health protections,” said Schaeffer, former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA.

“We expect House committee hearings to shine a bright spotlight on this betrayal of EPA’s intended purpose,” Schaeffer said. “To paraphrase Justice Louis Brandeis, sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

After the results came in showing Democrats would take more than the 218 seats needed for a House majority, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) said the victory marked a “new day” and vowed to restore “checks and balances” on the Trump administration, according to Greenwire. “We will find common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t.”

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, is expected to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which could play a central role in scrutinizing the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks.  “We also have serious concerns with how Trump’s EPA has consistently sided with the special interests over people’s health and the environment,” Pallone said. “We will look to restore the environmental protections that have been gutted over the last two years.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is likely to be chaired by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland.  “I plan to shine a light on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump Administration,” Cummings said in a statement. “I want to probe senior Administration officials across the government who have abused their positions of power and wasted taxpayer money, as well as President Trump’s decisions to act in his own financial self-interest rather than the best interests of the American people.”

In response to the change in party control of the U.S. House, League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld, said: “Tonight voters across the country decisively rejected the most anti-environmental U.S. House of Representatives in our nation’s history. …We congratulate the new pro-environment majority, and we are confident they will stand up for our air, water, lands, wildlife and of course our climate. It’s long past time for the House to do badly needed oversight and accountability of a dangerous administration bent on rolling back common-sense protections for our environment and our health.”

The Environmental Integrity Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog organization, based in Washington D.C. and Austin, Texas, that protects public health and the environment by investigating polluters, holding them accountable under the law, and strengthening public policy.

Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, or (443) 510-2574