President-elect Donald Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The New York Times reported the news citing a transition team official. The move signals Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change.
Pruitt is a staunch opponent of the Obama administration’s EPA, and has sued Obama to challenge nearly all of his major environmental regulations, such as his climate rule for power plants, as well as water rules and standards for ground level ozone pollution, haze, methane, and much more.
His views seem in line with the President-elect’s general view that global warming is a hoax orchestrated by the Chinese in order to stifle U.S. manufacturing.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Trump has also vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and has attacked President Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, the same regulations on which Pruitt has sued the Obama administration, as a “war on coal.”
Obama has tried to tackle climate change through a collection of EPA regulations aimed at forcing power plants to significantly reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide pollution. While Trump cannot unilaterally cancel the rules — released under the 1970 Clean Air Act — it would be possible for a legally experienced EPA chief to substantially weaken, delay or slowly dismantle them.
If that is the plan, then Scott Pruitt is perhaps uniquely qualified for the job. He has emerged as a hero of conservative activists, and is one of a number of Republican attorneys general who have formed an alliance with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda. Simply put, he has legal expertise, and has focused on exactly the regulatory scheme which Trump has vowed to reverse, meaning that he has the knowledge and experience that Trump lacks in rolling back the regulations.