WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency received positive marks from West Virginia senators this week, with one inviting him to the state to discuss issues related to Wood County communities.
In a release from Trump’s transition team, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he believes Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has the right experience to be the next EPA administrator.
“We both come from energy producing states and have a great deal in common,” Manchin said. “He committed to visiting West Virginia and working with me on some of the clean water challenges that we have experienced in recent years in cities like Vienna, Parkersburg and Charleston.”
A spokeswoman for the senator confirmed he was referencing the concerns about C8 contamination in Vienna and Parkersburg water supplies.
The city of Vienna initiated efforts to provide bottled water and draw water from the Parkersburg Utility Board after the EPA released a new long-term health advisory for C8 exposure that was below the level tested in the city’s water wells. Parkersburg’s water has regularly tested below the 0.07 ppb threshold.
Also known as PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid, C8 was used for decades in the Teflon-manufacturing process at DuPont’s Washington Works facility in Washington, W.Va. Chemours, a spinoff of DuPont that now operates the facility, paid for a carbon filtration system for Vienna.
“Sen. Manchin wants to be sure that West Virginia communities have the resources and support they require to ensure that all West Virginians have safe and clean drinking water,” Katey McCutcheon, deputy press secretary for Manchin, said via email.
In the transition team release, Pruitt praised Manchin as an advocate for energy policy that both protects the environment and enables economic growth.
“We discussed the many ways the EPA can help the people and protect the natural environment of West Virginia and our nation,” Pruitt said. “If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with Sen. Manchin and his colleague Sen. (Shelly Moore) Capito as we find the right balance that works best for the people and the environment of their very special state.”
Manchin met with Pruitt on Thursday, while Capito, R-W.Va., visited with him Wednesday.
“Today’s meeting was very productive, and it underscored our shared commitment to reining in federal government overreach and getting the EPA back to its core mission,” Capito said in a release Wednesday. “Attorney General Pruitt and I have known each other for several years, and I have full confidence in his ability to implement President-elect Trump’s energy plan and protect clean air and water without needlessly targeting critical jobs.”
Capito said she will work hard to secure Pruitt’s confirmation.