Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke on the Senate floor and led a number of Senate Democrats in shining a light on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s environmental record. During his time at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh has built a troubling record of consistently prioritizing polluters over environmental quality and public health.

“Scott Pruitt may be out as Administrator of the EPA, but if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Pruitt’s dangerous, anti-environment agenda will continue to wreak havoc—this time with the weight of our nation’s highest court behind it,” said Senator Carper. “Put simply, Brett Kavanaugh will attempt to finish what Scott Pruitt started.”

The full speech can be seen by clicking HERE. Below is an excerpt of Senator Carper’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Kavanaugh’s broken pledges affect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the world we will leave to our children, and our children’s children.  Today, we seek to shine a light on Brett Kavanaugh’s environmental record, one which consistently put the interests of polluters ahead of the public.

“One such example is when Mr. Kavanaugh rejected EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ rule regulating air pollution that travels across state lines to downwind states like Delaware.  In the case of EME Homer City v. EPA, he sided with polluters and ignored petitions from Delaware and eight other states and the District of Columbia when he said EPA lacked the authority to require upwind states be better neighbors.  Kavanaugh’s views were deemed too extreme even for some of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices, who reversed his decision, saying that Kavanaugh had followed his own policy views rather than the law written by Congress.

“Just yesterday, I was with First State officials and concerned citizens, all speaking out against the current EPA’s misguided decision to reject Delaware’s ability to address dangerous pollutants blowing into our state from dirty power plants to the West.  Delaware families, especially children and those with asthma, still suffer from harmful pollution that lands in our communities through no fault of our own. That’s not right. We need a strong EPA to protect states like mine — but Brett Kavanaugh disagrees.

“Brett Kavanaugh also dissented from an opinion on toxic air pollution written by Chief Judge Merrick Garland.  In White Stallion Energy v. EPA, Kavanaugh said EPA had to consider the costs to industry when determining whether power plants should have to reduce toxic air pollution that causes cancer and lowers the IQ of children.  Justice Scalia quoted Kavanaugh directly when the Supreme Court later adopted Kavanaugh’s position in another 5-4 decision, even though the Clean Air Act doesn’t say a thing about having to consider costs.

“In Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA Mr. Kavanaugh rejected the longstanding interpretation that Congress gave EPA the authority to act to control any air pollutant, including greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Kavanaugh argued that taking the Clean Air Act at its word and interpreting ‘any air pollutant’ to include greenhouse gases would lead to what he considered – again, as his own personal position and not a matter of law – absurd results.  Kavanaugh has not only proven to be untrustworthy, but has also directly called into question EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases and combat climate change. 

“These cases, and the ideas advanced by Brett Kavanaugh in his opinions, have striking similarities to those advanced by a recently departed Trump Administration official: Scott Pruitt.  And that should worry every member of this body. Scott Pruitt may be out as Administrator of the EPA, but if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court, Pruitt’s dangerous, anti-environment agenda will continue to wreak havoc—this time with the weight of our nation’s highest court behind it. Put simply, Brett Kavanaugh will attempt to finish what Scott Pruitt started. 

“I take seriously the Senate’s constitutional role of providing advice and consent on a President’s nominee to the Supreme Court.  As such, I will afford Brett Kavanaugh the opportunity my Republican colleagues refused Merrick Garland when they abdicated their constitutional responsibilities in 2016. I look forward to interviewing Brett Kavanaugh in the coming weeks and providing him the opportunity to explain why he broke his pledges, time and again. 

“We are fighting dangerous environmental rollbacks put forth by this administration nearly every day.  What we don’t need is a Supreme Court that will similarly side with polluters over public health.”

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