President-elect Trump plans to select Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the incoming head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The selection was first reported by Reuters Wednesday and attributed to an anonymous member of the Trump transition team. Progressives are already referring to the selection of Pruitt as a “worst case scenario” and vowing to fight his nomination. From the Hill:
“We’re certainly going to draw a line in the sand,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee.
“This is the worst-case scenario when it comes to clean air and clean water, to nominate a climate denier to the agency charged with protecting our natural resources.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an EPW member, said he will “vigorously” oppose Pruitt, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said “there will be a fight” over his nomination.
“I think he has a record and it will scrutinized, and there will be opposition there as a result.”
The Washington Post notes that, in his role as Attorney General for Oklahoma, Pruitt had sued the agency he is now being tapped to lead:
Pruitt, who has written that the debate on climate change is “far from settled,” joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the agency’s Clean Power Plan, the principal Obama-era policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. He has also sued, with fellow state attorneys general, over the EPA’s recently announced regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from the oil and gas sector.
On his Linked In page, Pruitt boasts of being “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”…
Pruitt, along with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, came to the defense of ExxonMobil when it fell under investigation by attorneys general from more liberal states seeking information about whether the oil giant failed to disclose material information about climate change.
“We do not doubt the sincerity of the beliefs of our fellow attorneys general about climate change and the role human activity plays in it,” they wrote at the conservative publication National Review. “But we call upon them to press those beliefs through debate, not through governmental intimidation of those who disagree with them.”
That sounds…entirely reasonable. But Pruitt is already generating reactions like this:
At the risk of being dramatic. Scott Pruitt at EPA is an existential threat to the planet
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) December 7, 2016
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 7, 2016
Climate change denier Scott Pruitt has worked with fossil fuel companies to make us more dependent on fossil fuels. https://t.co/ipXhImrXFY
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2016
The Sierra Club put out a press release calling Pruitt “unfit” to serve:
Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires. He is a climate science denier who, as Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma, regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA protections.
Democrats really were set for four years of marginal changes by President Clinton. They may need to start prioritizing their opposition.