Newsroom

Senator Murray:If you really want to shape our nation’s environmental laws for generations to come, you put someone on the Supreme Court—for life—who consistently sides with the massive corporations and special interests that put profits ahead of the health and wellbeing of families.  And boy, did those CEOs and special interests hit the jackpot with President Trump’s nominee” 

Senator Murray: “…because of our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, our rivers are cleaner, our air is easier to breathe, and families are better protected than ever before. And though we still have a lot of work to do, it would be a grave mistake to go backward”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S SPEECH HERE*** 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, in a wide-ranging speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spent several minutes highlighting the troubling record of President Trump’s extreme Supreme Court nominee and what his confirmation could mean for our nation’s bedrock environmental laws. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who currently sits on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has openly opposed the U.S. Supreme Court’s Chevron deference standard that has long allowed experts and non-partisan professionals to make critical regulatory decisions, rather than the courts. Overturning the Chevron deference standard would be a radical change in terms of who has the final word on environmental protections.

In her speech, Senator Murray made clear that Judge Kavanaugh’s stance “could take decisions away from our nation’s scientists and non-partisan professionals, and put those decisions into the hands of special interests.”

Senator Murray also underscored concerns about the future of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, as well as efforts to combat climate change should Judge Kavanaugh be confirmed to our nation’s highest court. Judge Kavanaugh wrote the opinion for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that struck down what’s known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, an EPA rule meant to reduce air pollution from power plants and other facilities in downwind states.

“You don’t have to spend long looking at Judge Kavanaugh’s record to see that should he be seated, nearly five decades of environmental protection are at risk— including the protections enshrined in the Clean Air Act, which has significantly cut the smog, smoot, and chemicals that choked communities across the country prior to 1970 and prevented hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and cases of heart disease in the years since,” Senator Murray said. “Also at risk: the Clean Water Act, which, if erased, would take us back to the bad old days before common sense protections. When the Cuyahoga River was so polluted it caught fire. When shellfish beds were closed in Puget Sound, nearly decimated by pollutants.  Or when an estimated 20 million gallons of sewage effluent flowed into Lake Washington – every single day."

The transcript of the portion of Sen. Murray’s speech regarding environmental concerns is below. (You can watch Senator Murray’s full speech on what’s at stake with President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—from health care, to Roe v. Wade, to voting rights and executive power-- here.)

“We’ve known from Day One that President Trump would be hostile toward our bedrock environmental laws, and that he was eager to do the bidding of the coal, oil, and gas industries. That his slogan of putting America first actually meant the U.S. would be dead last in the fight against climate change. And that Trump’s economic agenda has more to with rolling back rules that help keep our kids safe from toxic pollutants, protect our drinking water, and prevent health problems in senior citizens. You know, the ones those special interest groups try to call just  “pesky regulations”—and what the rest of us moms, grandmothers, and ordinary people call common sense protections.

“But apparently it’s not enough to just attack our environment from the Administration. If you really want to shape our nation’s environmental laws for generations to come, you put someone on the Supreme Court—for life—who consistently sides with the massive corporations and special interests that put profits ahead of the health and wellbeing of families. And boy, did those CEOs and special interests hit the jackpot with President Trump’s nominee.

“You don’t have to spend long looking at Judge Kavanaugh’s record to see that should he be seated, nearly five decades of environmental protection are at risk— including the protections enshrined in the Clean Air Act, which has significantly cut the smog, smoot, and chemicals that choked communities across the country prior to 1970 and prevented hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and cases of heart disease in the years since.

“Also at risk: the Clean Water Act, which, if erased, would take us back to the bad old days before common sense protections. When the Cuyahoga River was so polluted it caught fire. When shellfish beds were closed in Puget Sound, nearly decimated by pollutants.  Or when an estimated 20 million gallons of sewage effluent flowed into Lake Washington – every single day. I could go on and on about the strides our country has made to keep families safe.

“But the bottom line is that because of our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, our rivers are cleaner, our air is easier to breathe, and families are better protected than ever before. And though we still have a lot of work to do, it would be a grave mistake to go backward.

“And that’s just what so many people fear would happen with Judge Kavanaugh on the bench, given his past rulings—and given the test that President Trump applied and his commitment to only nominate someone screened and approved by the extreme right, especially his stance that could take decisions away from our nation’s scientists and non-partisan professionals, and put those decisions into the hands of special interests.”