President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Attorney General Pruitt has great qualifications and a good record as the AG of Oklahoma, and there were a number of qualified candidates for that particular position that the President-elect interviewed and he settled on Attorney General Pruitt and we'll look forward to the confirmation hearing," Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday.
It's a signal the Trump administration is intent on reversing President Barack Obama's moves to curb climate change.
In a statement Thursday morning from the Trump transition team making the nomination official, Pruitt was quoted as saying, "The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."
Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal,” according to an article posted by The New York Times.
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, sources told Scientific American.
Trump also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign.
Ebell is an outspoken, longtime skeptic of the scientific consensus that human activity is dramatically changing the climate. He often refers to warnings about global warming as climate “alarmism” and is a vocal critic of President Obama’s climate change regulations. Ebell has argued that the Clean Power Plan is illegal and that the Paris climate change agreement is unconstitutional.
The Republican presidential nominee’s EPA would be responsible for implementing his ambitious agenda of dismantling major pieces of Obama’s climate legacy, like the Clean Power Plan for power plants and the Paris agreement.
Republican energy lobbyist and strategist Mike McKenna is heading Trump’s Department of Energy transition team, and David Bernhardt, a lawyer at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and former Interior Department solicitor under President George W. Bush, is leading the transition for that department, E&E reported.