Determined to disprove an assertion made earlier this week by Senator Cory Gardner, demonstrators appeared at his office on Friday to show that they were genuine constituents who highly opposed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
About 70 people met at Skyline Park in Denver and then marched a block away to the office of Senator Cory Gardner who told media this week that phone calls to his office were from paid out-of-state paid protesters who were jamming his lines and preventing constituents from contacting him.
During a rally organized by Conservation Colorado, Americas for Conservation and the Arts (AFC+A), Americas Latino Eco Festival, and GreenLatinos, demonstrators chanted, “Pruitt? Don’t do it!” and “We are not paid protesters! We just love Colorado!”
On Thursday, Senate Republicans who hold the majority on the nominating committee, suspended committee rules to approve Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, after Senate Democrats boycotted the nomination procedure and refused to show for the vote. After an 11-0 unanimous vote by Republicans, the nomination will go to the full Senate.
Democrats took exception to Pruitt’s written responses about the severity of climate change, and also to his verbal responses made at his confirmation hearing, “I am also aware that ‘warmest year ever’ claims from NASA and NOAA are based on minimal temperature differences that fall within the margin of error.” The National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both released data in January showing 2016 to be the warmest year on record, topping 2014, and 2015 that consecutively held previous records.
Delaware Senator Tom Carper (D) was one who boycotted the hearing and protested Pruitt’s “misrepresentation” of his environmental record and Pruitt’s refusal to provide information to the committee. The League of Conservation Voters released a statement following the vote, “Everything about Pruitt is antithetical to the vitally important mission of the EPA and we call on the full Senate to reject his nomination.”
Groups representing Latino and Indigenous communities said that they were sending a strong message to Senator Gardner about the “importance that Latinos place on protecting our air, water, and health. Colorado’s Latino communities are rooted in their deep heritage of cultural conservation and environmentalism.” They called on Gardner to “strongly oppose nominees and actions that roll back public health protections, which disproportionately impact Latinos and other underserved communities.”
Tariana Navas, Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Denver challenged Senator Gardner to protect Coloradans, “You said that you want to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy Colorado’s great outdoors. We’re here today because we agree with you on that. We wish our healthy children and future generations to enjoy our natural resources. If you stand by your statement and you’re truly committed to help preserve Colorado’s pristine public lands, protect wildlife habitat, and expand outdoor access for years to come, you must protect the EPA. We’re trusting you to ensure that our children grow up healthy. Pruitt won’t protect our natural environment. Scott Pruitt has disputed the Clean Air Act.”
Sonrisa Lucero is Sustainability Strategist for the City of Denver, “We need somebody in the EPA who understands that our health, especially that of our children. They need to be in school pursuing their lives, not going to the hospital because of asthma. They need to not be attacked in the womb because of mercury poisoning. They need to have safe water to drink and their parents need to not worry about brain development because of lead in the water. Scott Pruitt didn’t even know what the safe level of lead is in water. Climate change is water cycle change and water is life.”
Stacie Gilmore (l) sits on Denver’s city council representing District 11 in northeast Denver and lives in the Montbello area, “I’m a fourth generation Coloradan. My family worked on the land. We need to let Washington know that we are a majority. Latinos are a majority. It’s been a long time coming and our voices need to be heard. We need to make sure that we’re not going to have people representing us that are not going to decimate our planet. The way our voices will be heard is when we all make sure that we turn out and vote. There is no other power in democracy unless we vote. We can only hope and pray that our voices are heard to make sure that we stop Scott Pruitt.”
Mary Young is a council member for the city of Boulder, “We all need air. We all need clean water. And we all need productive land. We are here in solidarity with the human race. We need to unite. That is the biggest point we can make with Trump. He’s crazy.”
The group marched to Gardner’s office and delivered postcards opposing Pruitt’s nomination. Signers included their zip codes and personal messages to prove that they were not paid protesters from out of state.