Press Releases

Beyer Statement On Sudden Departure of Fourth Senior Aide To Scott Pruitt This Week

f t # e
Washington, May 4, 2018 | comments

Rep. Don Beyer today issued the following statement on the reported resignation of John Konkus, the EPA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Affairs:

“Scott Pruitt’s toxicity has infected the upper echelons of EPA leadership, and the process of cleaning this mess must begin with Pruitt’s dismissal,” said Rep. Beyer. “Mr. Konkus’ tenure at EPA was emblematic of the way that special interests have been empowered to subvert the EPA’s core mission under Pruitt. In the wake of Konkus’ resignation, the EPA should act immediately to restore a grant process based on sound science rather than politics and the influence of industry.”

Konkus was the fourth senior official to depart the EPA this week, amid deepening scandals around Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Konkus had overseen an unprecedented and highly-politicized process for the approval of scientific and environmental protection grants put in place by Pruitt. Over the course of several months, Konkus’ actions included a failed attempt to strip funding for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, implementing orders by Pruitt to censor climate science on EPA webpages, and blocking EPA scientists from speaking about climate change at a scientific conference.

Konkus was also granted an unusual ethics waiver by EPA officials to earn income from outside the agency by acting as a political consultant. It later emerged that his consulting clients were Republican political interests.

Representative Beyer is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight. He has led numerous oversight initiatives focused on Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA, was the first Member of Congress to issue a formal statement calling for Scott Pruitt’s resignation, and led 64 House Democrats urging the President to dismiss Pruitt. He serves as co-Chair of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus.

f t # e