En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists fear Trump EPA nom­i­na­tion

Fos­sil-fuel in­ter­est groups laud pick of Okla. AG Scott Pruitt

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Bruce Fin­ley

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists shud­dered Wed­nes­day amid re­ports pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump will nom­i­nate Ok­la­homa At­tor­ney Gen­eral Scott Pruitt, a booster of the fos­sil fuel in­dus­try who has ques­tioned sci­en­tists’ cli­mate change con­sen­sus, to run and per­haps shrink the EPA. Fos­sil fuel in­ter­est groups re­joiced. “Who bet­ter to set the EPA in the right di­rec­tion than some­one who’s at the fore­front of stop­ping un­law­ful rules?” Western En­ergy Al­liance pres­i­dent Kath­leen Sgamma said. “He’s been a leader in push­ing back as the EPA has in­fringed on states’ au­thor­ity and un­der­stands that cen­tral­ized fed­eral con­trol is not the best way to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.”

In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Drilling Con­trac­tors Pres­i­dent Ja­son McFar­land said Trump pick­ing Pruitt to run the EPA shows “a clear fo­cus of the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion to foster oil and gas de­vel­op­ment in the United States. … We ex­pect that he will con­sider all of the re­li­able avail­able data be­fore de­vel­op­ing and im­ple­ment­ing any new reg­u­la­tion im­pact­ing our in­dus­try.”

The news of the nom­i­na­tion surfaced Wed­nes­day, put forth by Pruitt staffers. Se­na­tors would have to con­firm Pruitt, 48. As Ok­la­homa’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, Pruitt joined fel­low Repub­li­cans su­ing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ef­fort to cut car­bon emis­sions linked to cli­mate change, as well as safe­guards de­signed to pro­tect wa­ter sup­plies.

“Scott Pruitt run­ning the EPA is like the fox guard­ing the hen­house. Time and again he has fought to pad the prof­its of big pol­luters at the ex­pense of pub­lic health,” said League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers Pres­i­dent Gene Karpin­ski. “All peo­ple in this coun­try have a right to breathe clean air, drink clean wa­ter, and en­joy the eco­nomic and health ben­e­fits of the clean en­ergy rev­o­lu­tion, and it’s vi­tally im­por­tant that we have an EPA ad­min­is­tra­tor who re­spects those rights.”

The en­vi­ron­men­tal groups were mo­bi­liz­ing, say­ing they’ll urge se­na­tors to vote against Pruitt’s con­fir­ma­tion. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists in­creas­ingly are count­ing on states, in­clud­ing Colorado, where lead­ers have com­mit­ted to con­tinue an en­vi­ron­ment­friendly shift off fos­sil fu­els. Colorado Gov. John Hick­en­looper has said shift­ing away from coal-fired power to rely more on cleaner en­ergy makes eco­nomic sense — in ad­di­tion to re­duc­ing man-made car­bon emis­sions linked to cli­mate change.

In Congress, House Nat­u­ral Re­sources Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Rep. Raúl Gri­jalva, D-Ariz., said Amer­i­cans who voted for Trump did not give a man­date to fa­vor pol­luters at the ex­pense of the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Mr. Pruitt, like Mr. Trump, laughs at the pub­lic even as he calls him­self a ser­vant of work­ing fam­i­lies,” Gri­jalva said Wed­nes­day. “He uses his of­fice to help pol­luters at pub­lic ex­pense and then de­nies it. He’s bragged about su­ing, trash­ing and manipulating the agency he’s now sup­posed to lead.”

Andrew Harnik, AP

Ok­la­homa At­tor­ney Gen­eral Scott Pruitt ar­rives at Trump Tower in New York on Wed­nes­day.

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