What You Need to Know About Scott Pruitt, Trump’s Pick to Lead the EPA

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Donald Trump has officially tapped Scott Pruitt — Oklahoma Attorney General, a vocal EPA critic, and climate-change skeptic — to lead the Environmental Protection Agency under his administration. With environmental activists already concerned about Trump’s voiced resolution to dismantle Obama’s climate change regulations via the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Accord, the new hire has most people, well, pretty worried.

Pruitt already has a track record for taking EPA efforts to reduce global warming effects to court: In 2014, he waged a legal fight against Obama’s Clean Air Act (which demands that power plants reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, a known cause for global warming). And since 2011, Pruitt also sued the EPA (unsuccessfully) for a variety of regulations — ones that would not only help the planet but improve public health, too. These included laws that would control smog pollution across interstate lines, toxic mercury emissions from power plants, and haze in national parks. 

So what does Pruitt care about? Pruitt’s alliance with big energy industry officials to aggressively block Obama’s climate change agenda is his most clear environmental policy point.

It’s no surprise, then, that Pruitt also questions human-caused climate change. He has written extensively that the climate “debate is far from settled” — despite the vast majority of climate scientists telling us otherwise — and his stance aligns well with that of Trump’s. Environmentalists have already voiced concern: Rhea Suh, president of the National Resources Defense Council, tweeted that while the EPA’s mission is to safeguard the planet, “Pruitt seems destined for the environmental hall of shame.” Of course, while his views on climate change are dangerous (science shows the phenomenon is very much real, we can’t jump to conclusions about how exactly Pruitt will run the EPA. It's safe to say, though, the organization will see significant change in its policies and focus from Obama’s administration.

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