Friday, December 9, 2016

Trump’s Pick For The EPA Is A Lackey For The Fossil Fuel Industry And A Climate Change Denier... Oh And He's Suing The EPA Too!

Donald Trump has announced that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will be Trump’s choice to head of the Environmental Protection Agency which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment.

Given the EPA's mission one might find it odd that Pruitt, who was first elected attorney general in 2010, is described in his online biography as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and states that he “established Oklahoma’s first federalism unit to combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government.

Given that Pruitt has never made his close connections to the fossil fuel industry or history of challenging regulations on polluters a secret we must deduce that this was the reason he was tapped for this assignment. The assignment is obviously to fulfill the energy industry’s dream of turning the EPA into a toothless and powerless agency.

So what has Pruitt done that has won him such plaudits from energy industry leaders.

Here is a "best of" list for those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Pruitt's work...

• In 2011 Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA criticizing its estimates on air pollution caused by natural gas drilling. The problem was that The New York Times revealed the letter was actually written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was given to Pruitt by Devon’s chief of lobbying. The Times reported The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature.

• When Pruitt became president of the Republican Attorneys General Association they all of the sudden received a windfall in donations from “energy companies and other corporate interests,” to the tune of $16 million. Kind of like those energy companies knew something, right?

• According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Pruitt received over $250,000 over eight years from the oil and gas industry and has brought in nearly $325,000 in donations from the natural resources energy sector. 

• In 2015 Pruitt attempt to undermine the EPA by successfully urging the Oklahoma state legislature to pass a bill that would require any state plan to comply with EPA rules on reducing carbon emissions to receive legal approval from his office, with the assumption that he would rule it unconstitutional. The bill was ultimately vetoed.

• In 2016 Pruitt wrote in the right-wing National Review that the “debate” on climate change “is far from settled” as scientists “continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” This of course is a complete fabrication as the scientific community is essentially in complete agreement that human beings have had a detrimental influence on the climate.

• Attorney General Pruitt is presently suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s regulatory effort to curb emissions from power plants. Pruitt said he would ensure that the power plant rules, and other regulatory efforts from the current administration will not survive his presidency. Though the rules might survive President Obama's tenure they will not be so lucky once Pruitt takes over the agency he is suing... And yes, it means he is now suing himself.

• Pruitt’s state's loose regulatory approach to fossil fuel development has caused his state of Oklahoma to be rocked by earthquakes linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas operations (i.e. - fracking). In fact, last year, Oklahoma experienced more than 1,000 earthquakes measuring at least 3.0 in magnitude; that's up from fewer than two in 2008.

And it's not just the enviornment Pruitt hates. No, he also hates all things Obama as well! Pruitt has bragged that he has led Oklahoma’s legal challenges to ObamaCare, the President’s executive actions on illegal immigration, and Obama’s "excessive use" of "recess appointments" to bypass Congress.

So does anyone remember when Trump said on the campaign trail that he might eliminate the nonexistent “Department of Environmental,”... I think hiring this guy was what he meant.

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