Members of the Sierra Club's Tennessee Chapter gathered at the Clifford Davis Federal Building Thursday to protest the nomination of Scott Pruitt, President-Elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
"We’re calling on Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to reject the appointment of Scott Pruitt," said Scott Banbury, the Sierra Club's conservation program coordinator. "Pruitt has made a career of suing the Agency to stop the implementation of rules that protect our water and air from pollution."
The Sierra Club fear Pruitt will oppose two environmental rules that Sen. Alexander has previously supported, Banbury said.
"The Cross-State Air Rule allows us to work with our neighboring states to the west to control the air pollution that has contributed to ozone non-attainment in Memphis in the past," Banbury said. "We’re also very concerned about Pruitt’s opposition to the haze rule, which has cleaned up the air quality in Smoky Mountains National Park, making our air quality cleaner and healthier in a tourist destination."
Shelby County's air quality is improving, and Memphis just met the EPA's air standards last year
"A large part of our ability to come into attainment with low-level ozone standards has been because of inner-state agreements created under Cross-State Air Rule," Banbury said.
Given Pruitt's previous lawsuits against the EPA, Sierra Club Member Dennis Lynch said he fears Pruitt's nomination.
"As attorney general of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt sued the EPA twelve times," Lynch said. "Do we want someone to run the EPA who was trying to get rid of it?"