The EPA and the New Threat, Scott Pruitt

The EPA and the New Threat, Scott Pruitt

Posted Friday, January 20, 2017

Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Trump administration is pressing on aggressively to make their mark with its choice of cabinet leaders. Trump has positioned Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This move has created significant disquiet among environmental advocates. Pruitt’s nomination is seen as a move seen to dismantle eight years of progress. The Trump administration has called global warming a “hoax”, vowed to cancel the Paris Accord, and has called President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a “war on coal”. Pruitt, seen to be in sync with Trump’s vision for corporate profits at the expense of climate change stands ready to execute Trump’s agenda.

Pruitt has an obscure and restrained vision for the EPA. He aggressively criticized the Agency during the Obama administration and sued the EPA fourteen times. At Pruitt’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday, he said that he accepts that human activity is affecting the climate, which was a glimmer of hope to environmentalists, but which was then dashed when he expressed doubt that global warming is happening at a tragic pace.

His close ties with energy companies were repeatedly brought up by Democrats at the hearing. Jeff Merkley of Oregon presented a letter Pruitt sent to the EPA protesting its enforcement of methane rules. The letter was reportedly written almost entirely by Devon Energy. Pruitt had changed just a few words.

To add to environmentalists concerns, Pruitt declined to say whether he would recuse himself from the ongoing lawsuits if confirmed as the agency’s new leader. At the hearing, it was said that his close ties to the oil and gas industry and his hostile history with the EPA makes him a disastrous choice to run an agency created to protect ordinary Americans from pollution.

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