Tennessee is a national and international leader in the rapidly growing, $1.3 trillion global marketplace for advanced energy. The state’s advanced energy sector contributes $33.4 billion to its GDP and boasts 17,334 Tennessee firms with nearly 325,000 jobs, such as: working in the automotive industry, improving building efficiency or providing renewable energy solutions. The U.S. clean energy market grew by 14 percent in 2014 – that’s roughly five times the rate of the overall economy. It seems an obvious sector for a financially savvy businessman like President-Elect Trump to support as he looks to keep American industries on top.

But Tennesseeans should be strongly concerned about the economic risks created by the President-Elect‘s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Aligned with powerful lobbyists, Pruitt repeatedly sued the EPA to block standards that would boost the clean energy sector. Further, he consistently supported policies that would smother the growth of our advanced energy economy. Pruitt’s actions are in stark contrast to Trump’s vision of improving the economy and providing the greatest opportunity for high quality American jobs.

The public is misinformed about keeping and growing jobs in the energy sector. Pruitt asserts that current EPA standards stifle American jobs, but that is grossly misleading. Fact is, more Americans work in the solar industry today than in coal, oil and gas extraction. Currently, workers in the advanced energy sector pay more than $820 million in sales tax to our state and local governments. These next generation jobs provide a higher quality of life for Tennessee communities, with the annual average wage at $48,764, well above our state average. Plus, there’s more room at the table. As Tennessee’s advanced energy sector grows, it welcomes workers in coal and other fossil fuel industries with knowledge and skills that transfer easily into new jobs.

Confirmation of Pruitt’s appointment as director of the EPA could ruin the economic gains of our advanced energy sector. Growing our economy and creating next generation jobs are important to Tennessee voters. Companies, from car manufacturers to utilities and beyond, have invested billions in the clean energy economy. Future-proofing our communities has strong bi-partisan support. A recent survey shows 75 percent of Trump voters support action to accelerate the deployment and use of clean energy.

Join me in making sure our elected officials fully conduct due diligence on Mr. Pruitt before rubber-stamping his nomination to lead the EPA. Contact Senator Alexander, who is on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Senator Corker to let them know we need to protect our $33.4 billion advanced energy economy in Tennessee.