President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will be nominating Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pruitt has been outspoken about his criticism of the current regulations of the agency and have been one of the leaders in the legal battle against Obama’s climate change policies.
“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn,” said Trump in a statement. “As my EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, the highly respected Attorney General from the state of Oklahoma, will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.”
This move by Trump shows he really means business when it comes to dismantling Obama’s climate-change legacy.
Trump had repeatedly said that he planned to restore the U.S. coal industry and this seems to be his first step.
“The selection of Mr. Pruitt virtually guarantees that the EPA’s massive effort to limit carbon emissions by crippling the U.S. coal industry, known as the Clean Power Plan, will be an early target of the incoming administration. Mr. Pruitt, elected as Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2010, has sued the EPA multiple times in challenging the president’s regulatory authority, and he’s led the charge against the Clean Power Plan in federal court,” writes The Washington Post.
Although Democrats hoped that after Trump’s meeting with Al Gore this week he would change his stance on climate change, the president-elect is sending a message with Pruitt’s appointment that he will not be caving into their pressure.
“During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly threatened to dismantle the E.P.A. and roll back many of the gains made to reduce Americans’ exposures to industrial pollution, and with Pruitt, the president-elect would make good on those threats,” said Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, a Washington research organization. “It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile E.P.A. administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.”
While Democrats and environmentalists were quick to criticize Trump’s selection of Pruitt, several groups came forward and applauded his decision.
“Pruitt has fought back against unconstitutional and overzealous environmental regulations like Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan; he has proven that being a good steward of the environment does not mean burdening tax payers and businesses with red tape,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
This means there will be less regulations and more control given back to the states in terms of energy and environmental policies.
“Attorney General Scott Pruitt has long been a defender of states’ rights and a vocal opponent of the current administration’s overreaching E.P.A.,” said Laura Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. “Mr. Pruitt will be a significant voice of reason when it comes to energy and environmental regulations.”
Specifically, Pruitt has condemned the EPA for stumping the growth in multiple industries.
“Respect for private property rights have allowed our nation to thrive, but with the recently finalized rule, farmers, ranchers, developers, industry and individual property owners will now be subject to the unpredictable, unsound and often byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA,” said Pruitt last year.
“Scott Pruitt is a businessman and public servant and understands the impact regulation and legislation have in the business world,” said Jeffrey McDougall, chairman of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. “His appointment will put rational and reasonable regulation at the forefront.”