Dear Senator Warner,
One of the main roles of federal government agencies and departments is to protect Americans from dangers, both foreign and domestic. These fundamental duties cannot be performed at a high level by agencies with leaders inadequate to serve the American people.
Recently, President-Elect Trump has put forth many totally unacceptable nominees for leadership roles under the next administration. The two of most concern to the Sierra Club’s 16,000 plus Virginia members are the President-Elect’s nominees for Secretary of State, former Exxon-Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, and EPA Administrator, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Mr. Tillerson is unfit to serve as Secretary of State. While at Exxon-Mobil he has proven time and time again he is willing to to do anything to increase Exxon-Mobil’s profits at the expense of our climate, like cutting deals with foreign dictators, drilling for oil in the Arctic, and promoting disinformation about climate change.
Mr. Tillerson’s greatest disqualification for office is his refusal to own up to, and make amends for, his company’s role in promoting climate-science disinformation. Exxon-Mobil’s role in that decades-long disinformation campaign has been documented in Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes’ book Merchants of Doubt, and numerous articles published in scientific journals.
Stated simply, Tillerson lacks the credibility needed to be an effective diplomat in dealing with our international partners who are already taking action to curb climate change. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and numerous military officials have called climate change a “threat multiplier.” The effects of climate change range from sea-level rise affecting island and coastal nations, including our own, to a major worldwide drought. As you may be aware, sea-level rise is an urgent problem in my area, where Naval Station Norfolk’s very existence is threatened. Dealing with these issues requires a Secretary of State unsullied by Exxon-Mobil’s record of climate misconduct.
Mr Pruitt, the nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is also unfit for his position. He cannot be trusted to lead the EPA in a responsible and scientific manner. He is a vehement climate-science denier and has referred to climate-science as “speculative guess work.”
Mr. Pruitt as the Attorney General of Oklahoma has a shameful record of ignoring the effects of coal ash pollution and fighting the transition to renewable energy, all while accepting funds from the fossil fuel industry. His record also includes non-enforcement of environmental safeguards meant to protect the health of his constituents.
We urge you as our Senator, to actively oppose these nominees as unfit for their duties. We need a Secretary of State that will put our country before corporations and an EPA Administrator who will be an advocate for the climate, the environment, and our health, not the bottom lines of fossil-fuel interests working to block reasonable climate and environmental safeguards.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter