Despite last-ditch efforts by employees of the EPA, many of whom have been ordered to not discuss their work with the press or public, the attorney general is now in charge of the organization he’s long wanted to destroy as far back as the Reagan era.
Pruitt’s main objective will be to simultaneously roll back Obama-era environmental protection measures while giving more power to each individual state to decide how they will handle such regulations.
This sounds like the power is being given “back to the people,” but as states are so biased depending on their energy industry links, this will ultimately result in a mish-mash of clean energy states next to far “dirtier” ones. Those like California and New York will push ahead with renewable energy measures, while those like North Dakota will double-down on burning coal and gas.
It’s also likely that he’ll want to permanently remove the EPA’s ability to have a say over greenhouse gas emissions. As dire as this threat is, there may be some hope yet.
The EPA’s Obama-era emission cutting targets, ambitious as they seemed at the time, are a decade-and-a-half ahead of schedule, despite not even having any legal basis. As it turns out, most of America is switching to renewable energy all by itself, thanks to the clear economic and environmental benefits of doing so.
So Pruitt’s appointment is grim, yes – but maybe, just maybe, it’s too late to turn back the tide.