As reported by the Washington Post, President-elect Donald Trump wishes to nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This means that the EPA – which spends its time protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions – will be headed by an anti-regulation, pro-fossil fuel industry individual, a man who also happens to be currently suing the EPA on climate change.
“Conflict of interest” doesn’t do this appointment justice. It’s like putting Darth Vader in charge of the Rebel Alliance, or an evolution denier in charge of national education.
As attorney general, Pruitt has invested a large amount of time and energy in pushing back against the EPA’s efforts.
He has filed legal action against the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-spearheaded effort to cut down America’s carbon emissions, and has frequently (and falsely) claimed that the debate on climate change is “far from settled.” Pruitt has also fought against almost any attempt to reduce air and waterway pollution.
Like Trump, he also loves coal. The EPA transition team’s statement referred to Pruitt as “a national leader against the EPA’s job-killing war on coal.”
Pruitt himself has often erroneously declared that the shuttering of coal-fired power plants will lead to increases in energy prices. With increasingly cheap renewables and increasingly expensive fossil fuels, the very opposite is true.
Most remarkably, he once compared the climate change mitigating actions of certain states – and President Obama – as akin to the authoritarian rule of George III. All you need to know about the rationality of Pruitt can be found in this deeply silly analogy.
It appears, then, that the future head of the EPA, if his nomination is approved, will be someone who will attempt to weaken the agency as much as possible.
He will face many legal challenges on the way to doing so – after all, he cannot simply revoke any EPA framework he wishes with a simple signature – but the fact is, he is being put in a position where he is able to do so with less effort than ever before.
It’s incredibly difficult to know what will happen to the climate and the environment under the contradictory-filled future Trump administration.
After spending many years declaring climate change was a myth, a conspiracy, or a hoax, he decided to pick Myron Ebell, a non-scientist and climate change denier, as the head of his EPA transition team. This is the very same team that is now singing Pruitt’s praises.
Curiously though, Trump recently told the New York Times that there may be “some connectivity” between human action and climate change. He and his daughter Ivanka met with Al Gore shortly after signaling that she wanted to make climate change one of her signature issues. Although, it’s not yet clear whether she plans to take a denialist viewpoint or an accepting one. Trump and Ivanka also met with Leonardo DiCaprio yesterday. The actor is a well-known advocate of fighting climate change, even fronting his own climate change documentary, Before the Flood, which he presented a copy of to Ivanka.
Her father’s advisor to space science, one Bob Walker, has recently said that the administration will heavily defund NASA’s Earth Science programs. Along with Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman and the President-elect’s incoming chief of staff, Walker declared climate science as a lot of politically motivated baloney.
Now, with Pruitt’s nomination, it seems to be clearer than ever that Trump is willingly surrounding himself with those who simply do not care about climate change, despite the President-elect’s occasional conciliatory comments that seem to suggest otherwise.
This will all serve to make America unique, in that its governing body will be the only administration in the world that rejects the science of climate change – a form of American exceptionalism that few would be proud of.