President-elect Donald Trump is set to name Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as head of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sources close to the transition team have confirmed.
Pruitt has been a fierce critic of the EPA since his election as Oklahoma Attorney General in 2010, and has pushed for the loosening of fossil fuel regulations. Pruitt is very familiar with the oil industry, with Oklahoma holding extensive oil reserves.
He has previously filed multiple lawsuits against the EPA, with a current lawsuit seeking to overturn the agency’s ‘Clean Power Plan,’ a core component of Barack Obama’s climate strategy.
In a September interview with Reuters, Pruitt described Obama’s plan as an example of “federal coercion and commandeering,” arguing that states should have “sovereignty to make decisions for its own markets.”
The appointment is a signal of intent from the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations that have stifled economic growth, and to stop the nation’s forced march towards compliance with arbitrary global climate change mandates.
The decision has already attracted fierce criticism from leading Democrats, including Barack Obama’s Senior Advisor Dan Pfieffer, who described the appointment as an “existential threat to the planet.”
At the risk of being dramatic. Scott Pruitt at EPA is an existential threat to the planet
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) December 7, 2016
Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also released a statement on the decision, saying he would “vigorously oppose the nomination.”
Trump's nominee to lead EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a climate denier who's worked closely with the fossil fuel industry. That's sad and dangerous.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2016
“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,” he said.