Trump made many announcements on Thursday, and one of the most troubling for the critics came with the proposal of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head EPA. He has been seen as an ally of the fossil fuel industry, and has been an outspoken critic of what he derides as EPA’s “activist agenda.”
In other developments, Trump chose Gov. Terry Branstad for U.S. Ambassador to China, Gen. John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, and Linda MacMoha (former Chief Executive of WWE) as Administrator of Small Business Administration. Without much argument, Pruitt can be called the most controversial pick of the four.
The statement from Trump reads:-
For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn. As my EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, the highly respected Attorney General from the state of Oklahoma, will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.
Pruitt has sued EPA multiple times to roll back environmental regulations and some health protections. He joined with other Republicans in the past to sue EPA over its Clean Power Plan, which aims at reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He has argued that limiting carbon emissions would curb the sovereignty of state governments, threaten the reliability of the nation’s power grid, drive up electricity rates, and “create economic havoc.’
The current EPA approach toward global warming will take a marked turn if Mr. Pruitt’s nomination is confirmed.In an op-ed article published earlier this year, Pruitt suggested that the debate over global warming was “far from settled” and claimed that the disagreement continues among scientists over the extent of global warming and its relation to human actions.
Trump took a tough stance on global warming and even pledged to “cancel” Paris Climate Deal during his campaign. But last month, he softened up his stance by saying that there is “some connectivity” in human activity and climate change.
While news of Mr. Pruitt’s nomination was surfacing, Trump met climate change activist and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The CEO of Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Terry Tamminen said that plans to create jobs through “clean, renewable energy generation” were presented to Mr. Trump.
The news of Pruitt’s nomination to head EPA comes as a blow to both Democrats and environmentalists.
Chuck Schumer, the incoming leader of the Senate Democrats, described his disappointment in the following words:-
Attorney General Pruitt’s reluctance to accept the facts or science on climate change couldn’t make him any more out of touch with the American people, and with reality.
Vermont Senator and former Democrat Presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders described the move as “sad and dangerous.” Fred Krupp of Environmental Defense Fund has called Mr. Pruitt “a deeply troubling choice” to head the agency that protects clean air and water for Americans.