Since Trump began putting together his administration a month ago, America has had to deal with the most baffling, infuriating, frightening choices possible. Not to be outdone, even by himself, Trump has now shocked the country once again with his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma – a state highly dependent on its oil and gas industry – has been an ardent enemy of President Obama’s climate change and environmental policies. He has spent most of his time as AG fighting the EPA and is even suing the agency over its regulations of power plants via Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
In May, Pruitt co-wrote an article in the conservative National Review which outlined his coalition’s opposition to the plan:
“This EPA regulation, one of the most ambitious ever proposed, will shutter coal-fired power plants, significantly increase the price of electricity for American consumers, and enact by executive fiat the very same cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that Congress has rejected.”
“… in our states, we believe in and govern with respect for the rule of law, rather than by ambition to use the power of our governments to stifle political opponents. That is why we are part of a very different kind of coalition, a coalition of 29 states seeking to vindicate the rule of law by challenging the legality of the Clean Power Plan in our courts… our job is to hold the EPA accountable to the laws that created it and to fulfill our statutory duties to ensure that consumers in our states have access to reliable, affordable energy.
The appointment is an obvious move to end all that Obama stood for in protecting the environment. In the press release announcing Pruitt’s nomination, Trump was quoted as saying,
“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.”
Adding that Pruitt,
“will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe. My administration strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity.”
Yes, the main function of the EPA is to protect the environment, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The problem is Pruitt is a climate change denier, stating that the debate:
“is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
This ‘debate’ between scientists climate change conspiracists like to hide behind is of course bullshit. But this isn’t about science, it is about money.
As Pruitt himself said,
“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.”
On his Linked In page, Pruitt says he is “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
It seems as though Trump’s new criteria in choosing who should head one of his administration’s agencies is that the candidate be in complete opposition with its basic philosophies, but Pruitt’s nomination goes a giant leap further. It is a full-out conflict of interest. One that is terrifying for the environment. With Pruitt in this position, any progress the previous administration made to cut down the country’s carbon emissions will soon be reversed.
God bless Mother Earth. She will need it.
Featured image via Spencer Platt /Getty Images