On Thursday morning, President-elect Donald Trump confirmed he has chosen Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Trump’s transition team announced the nomination in a news release, calling Pruitt “an expert in Constitutional law” saying he “brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.”
“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency 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 said in the release. “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.”
“My administration strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity,” Trump added.
Pruitt has spent a good portion of his time as attorney general fighting and suing the agency he is about to run, and has been quoted as saying: “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.”
According to The Hill, Pruitt has sued President Obama’s EPA for almost every major regulation, and has fought long and hard against rules like the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule, two of Trump’s top targets for repeal.
While many Republicans are excited about this selection, Democrats plan on doing just about anything to block Pruitt’s confirmation.
“This is the worst-case scenario when it comes to clean air and clean water, to nominate a climate denier to the agency charged with protecting our natural resources,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s pick Wednesday evening, saying “We’re very accustomed to the naysayers and the critics” and “Attorney General Pruitt has great qualifications and a good record as AG of Oklahoma and there were a number of qualified candidates for that particular position that the president-elect interviewed.”
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