President-elect Donald Trump has been steadily filling his administration with people who are the antitheses of the Obama administration. It appears to be Trump’s plan to roll back most if not all of President Obama’s programs and policies.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is tasked with protecting the nation’s air, water, and natural environment, is no exception from this apparent roll-back effort. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General to head this organization.
Before we look at Mr. Pruitt’s career, let us look at what Trump has said about current EPA goals and standards, which may explain Pruitt’s nomination to the position. On Nov. 6, 2012, Trump tweeted that global warming was a hoax that was created by the Chinese government to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
And it gets worse from there. On Nov. 18, 2016, Coral Davenport reported in the New York Times that Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Paris Accord, which is an international agreement that was signed to help stop the spread of climate change by controlling industry emissions.
Trump is also quoted in the New York Times on Sept. 23, 2016 as saying, “We will scrap the Clean Power Plan.” The Clean Power Plan is President Obama’s signature plan to help slow down the march of Climate Change by reducing the amount of coal that the country uses.
Now that we see where Trump’s priorities lie, we can understand why he chose Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.
On May 17, 2016, Pruitt wrote an op-ed in the conservative online magazine, the National Review where he said, “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”
While Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt formed a coalition with other Republican Attorneys General and some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against President Obama’s climate-change initiatives. Mr. Pruitt even took part in a 28-state lawsuit to block some of the Obama administration rules on environmental protection.
It is clear what the goal is. To dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency from the inside out and roll back any environmental regulations that are deemed dangerous to industry. This should not be the focus of the incoming administration. Now, more than ever, we need strong environmental regulations to protect our fragile environment as we suffer from greater effects of climate change.