In his first two months as America’s Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt has visited northern Missouri’s Clifton Hill to learn what rural energy workers are doing to help protect the environment. Pruitt says the war on fossil fuels is over. He says America burns energy in a way that is far cleaner than any other country.

Photo taken at Thomas Hill Energy Plant in Clifton Hill, MO

According to Pruitt, the U.S. has reduced its air pollution by 65% since 1980.

“That’s something we should celebrate. It was only this past administration that said to us that we had to choose between jobs and protecting our environment,”
says Pruitt. “We can do both. You know the old saying ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too.’ Whoever says that doesn’t know what you are supposed to do with cake.”

Pruitt says both can be done with fewer regulations and the continued use of coal to produce energy.

“The agency has been an agency that’s tried to pick winners and losers, that’s used regulatory power not to make things regular for those that are regulated, but to say ‘we’re going to put our thumb on the scale in favor of certain types of energy at the expense of others,’” says Pruitt.

He vows to partner with states to invest and improve air, land and water quality.

“I believe that you care about the air that you breathe. I know that you care about the water that you drink and that you are invested in that,” says Pruitt. “People that own property, that generate electricity in Missouri. For farmers and ranchers, the most important asset they have is their land.”

Pruitt’s critics say his plans to cut EPA jobs and regulations will undo all the hard work that’s been done to help protect the environment.

Embracing Pruitt’s message Thursday at the Thomas Hill Energy Center include Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Attorney General Josh Hawley, Missouri Agriculture Director Chris Chinn, state Reps. Chuck Basye (R-Rocheport), Tim Remole (R-Excello) and Travis Fitzwater (R-Holts Summit).