Let's Fix This Country

Scott Pruitt to Head EPA


The Attorney General of Oklahoma can finally stop suing the Environmental Protection Agency. Donald Trump has appointed him to run it, from which vantage he can reverse decades of policy extending back to when government environmentalism began: Richard Nixon's signing of the Clean Air Act. He is to head an agency charged with the role of regulating the industry he has made a career of promoting because it will now become an agency that will promote it. Trump's 100-Day Plan pledges to lift all restrictions on "job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal" (that last doesn't exist). Pruitt is from the oil patch and a champion of unbridled fossil fuel use. He's from a state wracked like no other by earthquakes from pumping hydraulic fracturing wastewater down disposal wells. No matter. The announcement of his appointment said "Mr. Pruitt will ensure that we conserve our natural habitats, reserves and resources, while unleashing an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country”. The two are in direct opposition. We await this miracle.

He has also sued, along with state attorneys general from other fossil fuel producing states, to block the EPA’s recently announced regulations to curtail emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas some 30 times more potent in its entrapment of heat in the atmosphere with leaks from fracking found to be the primary source, and to an extent that outweighs the benefits of natural gas vs. oil. “Scott Pruitt has a record of attacking the environmental protections that EPA is charged with enforcing. He has built his political career by trying to undermine EPA’s mission of environmental protection,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, quoted in The Washington Post.

Pruitt is against the government in general. He has also sued over Dodd-Frank financial reform, has sued to block Obama's immigration plan, and in yet another suit has claimed that the Affordable Care Act's requiring Catholic organizations to provide insurance that includes contraceptives to be unconstitutional.

Pruitt is a denier, calling the climate change debate “far from settled”. He joined a coalition of state attorneys general in its suit against the EPA's Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He will now be in a position to shut it down. It is not enough that states and their power companies can devise their own plans for how to meet EPA emission targets. This is still federal government abuse of power. Conservative doctrine says policy should rest with the 50 states, each to do as it pleases, which forecloses any national policy to combat climate change or pollution. The irony is that the President-Elect's vows to restore jobs in the coal industry will go nowhere, nor perhaps will Pruitt's attempts to kill the Clean Power Plan, because the power industry is already well down the road to either shuttering old coal plants or switching to natural gas.

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