Tester to EPA: Stop wasteful spending, come to Montana

by U.S. Senator Jon Tester

Private jets, secret “soundproof booths,” and steakhouses, you would think that this is the dream life of a rich movie star – or maybe James Bond – but according to reports, this dream is a reality for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. While Pruitt lives the high-life on taxpayers’ dimes, Montana communities wait. And we cannot afford to keep the communities of Columbia Falls, Butte, Anaconda, and Libby waiting any longer.

While Pruitt spends $25,000 of taxpayer money to construct a “privacy booth” at EPA Headquarters, the people of Columbia Falls cry out for the EPA to do its job: cleanup the CFAC site and hold Glencore accountable. The people of Columbia Falls spoke loud and clear, they want this Superfund site cleaned up. Home to a thriving outdoor economy, Columbia Falls deserves to see CFAC taken care of for future generations. I invite Pruitt to come listen to the people of Columbia Falls.

While Pruitt crisscrosses the nation on private planes, he flies over Butte, home to two separate Superfund sites. The tailings and Silver Bow Creek need to be cleaned up so Butte can thrive. The people of Butte are eager to hear from Pruitt. He will see their tenacity, determination, and fighting spirit. I invite Pruitt to visit to the Mining City so he can see the Berkeley Pit and Silver Bow Creek for himself, and understand why they need to be cleaned up.

While Pruitt stood waiting for a table at a fancy D.C. restaurant, Anaconda continued to wait. Anaconda is where Main Street meets the mountains. The history and beauty of the city make it a destination for Montanans and non-Montanans alike. Families in Anaconda deserve to know their playgrounds are safe, their water is clean, and their lawns are free from arsenic and lead. He can’t get a $30 shrimp salad, but Pruitt can have a Montana burger and a milkshake for a fraction of the price if he comes to see Anaconda and help with the cleanup. I invite Pruitt to have a bite to eat with the people of Anaconda.

While Pruitt cozies up to foreign corporations looking to take American resources, Libby is left out in the cold. Libby is home to the most expensive Superfund site in the nation. And the money spent to clean up pollution is vital, because God just doesn’t make places like Libby anymore. Pruitt should be working to cleanup towns like Libby, not slashing the resources that hold polluters accountable. I invite Pruitt to come to Libby and see this community.

Pruitt has made his priorities clear, and Montana is not on his list. While Pruitt spends taxpayer money on his lavish lifestyle and excessive office perks, this Administration has proposed cuts to Superfund cleanup. I will relentlessly defend Montana’s communities and I’m not going to let Washington forget about us.

When I met Pruitt I invited him to Montana. If he ever accepts my invitation, I know just where we will go.

– U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.