I was in Minneapolis for a couple of days, and before driving home last night, had dinner with a couple of friends from the Environmental Protection Agency. It was a typical, light-hearted dinner, and every one was in a good mood. In a good mood, that is, until one of the EPA folks go a text message from a friend. “Have you seen who your new boss is!?!?!?”, was the simple and short text.
We looked online for news about the Trump administration naming a new EPA head, and our collective hearts sank. Scott Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, was named the new incoming EPA chief. Scott Pruitt doesn’t believe in climate change. Perhaps that’s not a deal-killer for the EPA head, because despite all the ridiculous garbage being spewed out of Trump’s mouth about the EPA, the vast majority of their work has very little to do with climate change.
However, Scott Pruitt is also an avowed critic of the EPA, and is currently actively SUING the EPA for what he deems to be “unnecessary and burdensome” regulation that gets in way of business activity. Or to be more direct, gets in the way of MONEY, because as the incoming administration has made painfully obvious through Trumpt’s cabinet choices and stated policiy positions is that corporate America and MONEY is the only thing that matters.
The man is a lawyer, not a scientist…that gives you a good idea of the Trump administration’s views on the role of science in Federal government. Not only is Pruitt actively suing the EPA (the very agency he now will lead! No conflict of interest there!), but he also has been very active in suing the Obama administration’s immigration laws, as well as Obamacare. He’s an ally of the oil and gas industry, going to the defense of companies such as Exxon Mobil when they’ve come under scrutiny for their environmental practices. He’s fought clean water laws, trying to limit Federal authority in limiting mercury, arsenic, and other toxins from contaminating the water supply. In 2014, he purportedly wrote an op/ed piece for the New York Times that criticized the EPA’s stance on pollution from natural gas drilling…and later it was found that the material in “his” piece was actually written by a representative of Devon Energy, one of the largest oil and gas producers in his state of Oklahoma.
In short, it’s like giving a fox keys to the hen house. It literally would be extremely difficult to choose a WORSE person to head the EPA.