Trump Pick For EPA Pleases Fossil Fuel Industry, Concerns Environmentalists

Dec 9, 2016

Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma has been nominated to head up the EPA.

Supporters of fossil fuels are welcoming President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head up the Environmental Protection Agency.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been a vocal critic of the agency he is nominated to lead, and is a strong proponent of fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas.

Pruitt is likely to take aim at many Obama administration regulations, particularly those dealing with climate change, since he rejects the scientific consensus on that issue.

“I think we’re definitely going to see a change in policy direction, and that gives the industry some hope on the regulatory front,” said Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association.

In particular, Deti would like to see a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which targets carbon emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants.

But Deti says he doesn’t expect a wholesale repeal of regulations, and says he wouldn’t advocate for that either.

"I don't think anybody is suggesting that we go back to the 1970s," he said.

Some environmentalists aren't so sure about that.

"By naming Pruitt, President-elect Trump has flunked. The American people did not vote to return to the country to the dirty old days or to turn a blind eye on dangerous climate change," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In Wyoming, environmental groups were slightly more optimistic.

“While he doesn't have a very promising environmental track record, we hope that in this new position, he will be more balanced and we can find things to work on that benefit the environment, clean air, clean water and people’s health,” said Lisa McGee, program director for the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

Pruitt still needs to be confirmed by the Senate.