Immediately after President-elect Donald Trump announced his decision to appoint Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his new EPA Administrator, Sen. Bernie Sanders denounced Trump’s pick while vowing to “vigorously oppose this nomination.” Instead of nominating a protector of the environment, Trump chose a climate change denier who has filed multiple lawsuits against the agency for attempting to reduce emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases.
“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn,” Trump stated on Thursday. “As my EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, the highly respected Attorney General from the state of Oklahoma, will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.”
“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,” Pruitt declared following his nomination.
But due to Pruitt’s contentious history with the EPA, Sen. Sanders condemned Trump’s decision in a recent statement: “At a time when climate change is the great environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Mr. Pruitt’s record is not only that of being a climate change denier, but also someone who has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to make this country more dependent, not less, on fossil fuels. The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.”
While receiving massive political contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt joined a coalition of other pliable state attorneys general in suing the EPA for attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. Pruitt has also filed another suit against the agency for trying to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
“Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires. He is a climate science denier who, as Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma, regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA regulations,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, asserted in a recent statement. “We strongly urge Senators, who are elected to represent and protect the American people, to stand up for families across the nation and oppose this nomination.”
“By appointing Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump is putting America at risk,” wrote Greenpeace spokesperson Travis Nichols. “Pruitt is a pure product of the oil and gas industry, installed in successive government posts to sell out his constituents at every turn. He will push this country far behind the rest of the world in the race for 21st century clean energy. With Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA, the people and the environment will be in the hands of a man who cares about neither.”
In strong opposition of Trump’s decision, Sen. Edward Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and chair of the Senate Climate Clearinghouse, recently affirmed, “As its leader, Scott Pruitt would have EPA stand for Every Polluter’s Ally.”