DeGette links EPA chief’s expensive travel to cutting regulations

Author: Joey Bunch - March 27, 2018 - Updated: March 27, 2018

DeGette EPAU.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, speaks outside the U,S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 headquarters in Denver Monday morning. (Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club)

DENVER — U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette was home in Denver Monday, telling members of the Sierra Club that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to clean up its act and clean up the environment.

The Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environment groups announced Monday they will sue the EPA to stop the Trump administration’s effort to roll back controls on coal-fired power plants.

“This agency, which is supposed to protect the quality of our air, our water and the health of our children, is falling woefully short,” Democrat DeGette said outside the EPA regional headquarters in Denver. “It’s called the Environmental Protection Agency, not the Environmental Gutting Agency.

“We call upon (EPA) Administrator (Scott) Pruitt and his senior advisors to overcome their severe ethical challenges and do the right thing.”

Pruitt’s use of first-class flights and military charters, as well as a $43,000 soundproof phone booth installed in  his office, are drawing the scrutiny of the agency’s inspector general.

The EPA is backing away from the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants by shifting to renewable energy. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, however, has said Colorado will stay on course to cut emissions.

“They’ve done everything they can to undermine the Clean Power Plan and have taken additional steps to roll back other air quality standards,” DeGette said of the Trump administration.

Also Monday, DeGette visited the local office of Sunrun, a solar panels company with more than 400 Colorado employees.

“Sunrun has brought hundreds of jobs to Colorado and we’re grateful for the strong bipartisan support behind our continued growth,” stated Alex McDonough, vice president of public policy at Sunrun. “In the face of anti-solar federal tariffs, we need more state leaders like Rep. DeGette who are stepping up to support access to affordable, clean, reliable home solar.”

A senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, DeGette is a co-sponsor of the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act to promote renewable energy that’s pending in the Republican-held House.

“Powering our state and protecting our air and water are no longer mutually exclusive,” Anna McDevitt, the organizing representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Colorado, said in a statement. “The cost of clean, renewable energy has already dropped below the cost of coal throughout most of Colorado, and that’s why the solar and wind industries are booming, and that trend is just getting started.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.