The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump will pick an ardent opponent of President Barack Obama’s measures to curb climate change as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Trump transition team source said on Wednesday, a choice that enraged green activists and cheered the oil industry.

Trump’s choice, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, fits neatly with the Republican president-elect’s promise to cut back the EPA and free up drilling and coal mining, and signals the likely rollback of much of Obama’s environmental agenda.

Since becoming the top prosecutor for the major oil and gas producing state in 2011, Pruitt has launched multiple lawsuits against regulations put forward by the agency he is now poised to lead, suing to block federal measures to reduce smog and curb toxic emissions from power plants.

He is also a leading figure in a legal effort by several states to throw out the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change strategy that requires states to curb carbon output.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Pruitt said he sees the Clean Power Plan as a form of federal “coercion and commandeering” of energy policy and that his state should have “sovereignty to make decisions for its own markets.”

Pruitt, 48, has also said he is skeptical of climate change. In an opinion piece in an Oklahoma newspaper this year, he wrote that he believes the debate over global warming is “far from settled” and that scientists continue to disagree on the issue. An overwhelming majority of scientists around the world say manmade emissions are warming the planet.

The Obama administration finalized the Clean Power Plan in 2015 as a key part of meeting U.S. obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, an accord among nearly 200 countries to curb global warming. Many scientists say warming is causing rising sea levels, drought, and an increase in ferocious storms.

Trump vowed during his campaign to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, saying it would put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Since the election, however, Trump has said he will keep an “open mind” about the climate deal, and also met with leading climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore.

Trump, a real estate magnate who takes office on Jan. 20, is in the midst of building his administration and is holding scores of interviews at his office in New York.

Environmental groups and former Obama officials bristled at the choice of Pruitt.

“Scott Pruitt running the EPA is like the fox guarding the henhouse,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, which supported Trump’s opponent in the election, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Time and again, he has fought to pad the profits of Big Polluters at the expense of public health.”

Heather Zichal, a former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change under Obama, said Trump’s choice was alarming.

“You can meet with Al Gore on Monday, pledge to keep Teddy Roosevelt’s environmental legacy alive on Tuesday, but if you nominate the Clean Power Act’s leading opponent to head the EPA on Wednesday, you’re making an unequivocal statement about the direction of your leadership,” she said.

But representatives of the oil industry, and some Republican lawmakers, were cheered by the pick.

Scott Segal, an energy industry lobbyist at Bracewell LLP called Pruitt “a measured and articulate student of environmental law and policy” who helped “keep EPA faithful to its statutory authority and respectful of the role of the states in our system of cooperative federalism.”

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, also a climate change skeptic, said “Pruitt has fought back against unconstitutional and overzealous environmental regulations like Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan; he has proven that being a good steward of the environment does not mean burdening tax payers and businesses with red tape.”

Trump aides praised Pruitt’s conservative record.

“Attorney General Pruitt has a strong conservative record as a state prosecutor and has demonstrated a familiarity with laws and regulations impacting a large energy resource state,” one of the aides said on a transition team briefing call on Wednesday.

(Additional Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)

IMAGE: Scott Pruitt Attorney General of Oklahoma arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}