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.