Yesterday, President-elect Donald Trump announced his pick for administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma.
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As Oklahoma AG, Pruitt has led the legal fight against the Clean Power Plan, which is the Obama administration’s effort to cut carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. He’s so closely allied with the oil and gas industry in his home state that he once “wrote” a critical letter to the EPA that was copied almost verbatim from a draft delivered by a petroleum lobbyist, as the New York Times reported in 2014. In addition to suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, he’s also challenged many other clean air and clean water protections. The Environmental Defense Fund says this:
Since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Pruitt has sued the EPA to stop vital protections for public health – including standards for reducing soot and smog pollution that crosses interstate lines; protections against emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxic pollutants from power plants; and standards to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.
It’s of a similar order of perversity to, say, putting Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions in charge of enforcing the Voting Rights Act.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called Pruitt a “friend, mentor and partner” in a press release this morning. Her statement in full:
“Attorney General Pruitt has been a leader in fighting the overregulation that has been coming from the EPA for many years,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I am confident that my friend, mentor and partner in this fight to combat unlawful regulations, General Pruitt, will be a great fit to bring much needed reforms to the EPA and make sure the agency is acting within the scope of the law. I want to see common sense regulations put in place that not only protect our environment but that allow farmers to feed the world and business owners to grow jobs across Arkansas and the country, and I know General Pruitt will make that happen.”
Rutledge herself was rumored to be in the running for the EPA administrator job when she visited Trump Tower last month.