According to The Washington Post, Donald Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a move that the Post says signals “an assault on President Obama’s climate change and environmental legacy.”
Trump’s nomination is alarming considering Pruitt has invested much of his energy fighting the agency that he could potentially lead.
Trump’s transition team announced Pruitt’s nomination on Thursday, saying he’s “an expert in Constitutional law” and that he “brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.”
"We are in danger. The whole country is in danger." A lawyer who knows Scott Pruitt reacts. https://t.co/EOdsPbniPI
— Nicholas Thompson (@nxthompson) December 8, 2016
According to WaPo, Pruitt gave a little preview on his official approach to the EPA.
“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses,” he’s been quoted as saying.
Pruitt, who has said that the debate on climate change is far from settled, is also in the middle of suing the very agency he hopes to head.
[Pruitt has] joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing over the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He has also sued, with fellow state attorneys general, over the EPA’s recently announced regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector.
On his Linked In page, Pruitt boasts of being “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
Pruitt’s fight against the Obama Administration hasn’t just been limited to the EPA. He’s also filed a lawsuit over Obama’s immigration policies, the Affordable Care Act, and financial reform under Dodd-Frank.
When ExxonMobil came under scrutiny for failing to disclose information it had about climate change, Pruitt, along with Alabama attorney general Luther Strange, came to the defense of the oil giant.
“We do not doubt the sincerity of the beliefs of our fellow attorneys general about climate change and the role human activity plays in it,” they wrote in an op-ed for the conservative site National Review. “But we call upon them to press those beliefs through debate, not through governmental intimidation of those who disagree with them.”
According to New York Magazine, a lawyer who knows Pruitt is horrified at the possibility that he could head the EPA.
“It’s the worst thing in the history of our environment!” Garvin Isaacs said to NYMag. “We are in danger. The whole country is in danger. Our kids are in danger. People have got to do something about the Citizens United decision that is turning our country into an oligarchy, run by oil-and-gas interests,” he said.
Aside from the huge legal challenges Pruitt would face in the event he tries to reverse some of the soon-to-be previous administration’s gains, encouraging news says that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan has already reached some of its objectives, with the U.S. now burning more natural gas and less coal.
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