Thursday, December 8, 2016

Who is Scott Pruitt?

Scott Pruitt is apparently the new administration's choice to become Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA. In short, this choice epitomizes the old warning of "the fox guarding the hen house."

Sound a little hyperbolic? In reality, it underestimates the problem.

Pruitt is the Attorney General for the oil and gas dependent state of Oklahoma. He is currently suing the EPA. Yes, the very same EPA he is slated to lead. Pruitt prides himself on suing the EPA "every chance he gets." He has sued EPA to eliminate standards for reducing smog pollution. He has sued EPA to remove protections against mercury pollution. He has sued EPA to remove protections against toxic arsenic pollution. He has sued EPA to block protections against acid gases and other pollutants from power plants. He has sued EPA to block air quality standards in national parks and wilderness areas.

Until he is sworn in, assuming that happens, Pruitt will be continuing his campaign to block EPA from implementing clean air, clean water, and climate change regulations that Congress has authorized it to implement.

Republicans hate mentioning that part. But it is Congress that has passed laws that require EPA to develop regulations to accomplish what Congress told EPA to implement in those laws. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered EPA to follow through on laying out regulations because it was too slow in doing so. Yes, the Congress and Supreme Court ordered EPA to protect human and environmental health, but Republicans blame EPA for doing the job they were required to do.

Pruitt has led the suite of Republican states fighting EPA health and safety regulations, in particular ones that his fossil fuel lobbyists tell him they don't like. If Pruitt is confirmed, he will try to dismantle these health and safety efforts from the inside.

Pruitt has received several hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel industry. He was caught sending letters to President Obama under his own name that were actually written by gas industry lawyers. He has fought to eliminate EPA oversight completely, arguing that fossil fuel dependent states like his have a right to destroy the environment, human health, and the climate system just because they make money doing so.

Not surprisingly, Pruitt is a climate denier. He routinely repeats the same old non-science lobbyist talking points fed to him by fossil fuel and libertarian lobbying organizations in Washington. He has outright lied about how EPA has attempted to implement the Congressional mandates given it. He has defended the right of corporations and other Republicans to lie about the state of climate science. And now he'll be in charge of the Agency that both he and the incoming administration have promised to dismantle.

This is your health and safety they are putting at risk.

The professed goals of Pruitt and the administration are to eliminate any regulations that require fossil fuel and other companies to limit their pollution. To eliminate all safeguards against massive CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and oceans. To eliminate all innovation and advances in our future energy needs.

This is the person the incoming administration has chosen to lead the EPA, the Agency he has vowed to destroy. Now he'll have a chance to destroy all health and human safety protections for all of us from the inside.

Oh, and it gets worse.