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Environmental Disaster: Trump Picks Oil Industry Ally To Run EPA

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Environmental Disaster: Trump Picks Oil Industry Ally To Run EPA


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump will pick an ardent opponent of President Barack Obama’s measures to curb climate change as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a Trump transition team source said on Wednesday, a choice that enraged green activists and cheered the oil industry.

Trump’s choice, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, fits neatly with the Republican president-elect’s promise to cut back the EPA and free up drilling and coal mining, and signals the likely rollback of much of Obama’s environmental agenda.

Since becoming the top prosecutor for the major oil and gas producing state in 2011, Pruitt has launched multiple lawsuits against regulations put forward by the agency he is now poised to lead, suing to block federal measures to reduce smog and curb toxic emissions from power plants.

He is also a leading figure in a legal effort by several states to throw out the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change strategy that requires states to curb carbon output.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Pruitt said he sees the Clean Power Plan as a form of federal “coercion and commandeering” of energy policy and that his state should have “sovereignty to make decisions for its own markets.”

Pruitt, 48, has also said he is skeptical of climate change. In an opinion piece in an Oklahoma newspaper this year, he wrote that he believes the debate over global warming is “far from settled” and that scientists continue to disagree on the issue. An overwhelming majority of scientists around the world say manmade emissions are warming the planet.

The Obama administration finalized the Clean Power Plan in 2015 as a key part of meeting U.S. obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, an accord among nearly 200 countries to curb global warming. Many scientists say warming is causing rising sea levels, drought, and an increase in ferocious storms.

Trump vowed during his campaign to pull the United States out of the Paris deal, saying it would put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Since the election, however, Trump has said he will keep an “open mind” about the climate deal, and also met with leading climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore.

Trump, a real estate magnate who takes office on Jan. 20, is in the midst of building his administration and is holding scores of interviews at his office in New York.

Environmental groups and former Obama officials bristled at the choice of Pruitt.

“Scott Pruitt running the EPA is like the fox guarding the henhouse,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, which supported Trump’s opponent in the election, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Time and again, he has fought to pad the profits of Big Polluters at the expense of public health.”

Heather Zichal, a former Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change under Obama, said Trump’s choice was alarming.

“You can meet with Al Gore on Monday, pledge to keep Teddy Roosevelt’s environmental legacy alive on Tuesday, but if you nominate the Clean Power Act’s leading opponent to head the EPA on Wednesday, you’re making an unequivocal statement about the direction of your leadership,” she said.

But representatives of the oil industry, and some Republican lawmakers, were cheered by the pick.

Scott Segal, an energy industry lobbyist at Bracewell LLP called Pruitt “a measured and articulate student of environmental law and policy” who helped “keep EPA faithful to its statutory authority and respectful of the role of the states in our system of cooperative federalism.”

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, also a climate change skeptic, said “Pruitt has fought back against unconstitutional and overzealous environmental regulations like Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan; he has proven that being a good steward of the environment does not mean burdening tax payers and businesses with red tape.”

Trump aides praised Pruitt’s conservative record.

“Attorney General Pruitt has a strong conservative record as a state prosecutor and has demonstrated a familiarity with laws and regulations impacting a large energy resource state,” one of the aides said on a transition team briefing call on Wednesday.

(Additional Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Frances Kerry)

IMAGE: Scott Pruitt Attorney General of Oklahoma arrives to meet with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid



    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 7, 2016

      Otto’s faucet and basin from which he takes a monthly birdbath. Looks like his sink runneth over.

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 7, 2016

    Conservatives are salivating over the prospect of further raping the environment, and the Groper-in-Chief will merrily lead the way. This insatiable lust for energy is fueled by nothing other than an out-of-control materialism exceeding the appetites of all other nations combined. We do hope that the residents in the heartland, in Texas, Okla. and elsewhere, have adequate healthcare insurance, or a substitute after the GOP guts the ACA.
    Those complaining about lack of jobs will be able to don hardhats and have jobs drilling and fracking till the wells run dry, cutting down forests without the worry of regulations, and will have the anticipated opportunity to see their grand-children bathing in crude oil, grinning from ear to ear with oil-stained teeth, while showing off the paychecks from their new jobs. Thank you, GOP.

  2. Thoughtopsy December 7, 2016

    Hey stupid Trump voters…
    Do you know who dies when polluters are allowed to pollute due to lack of clean air and clean water regulation?

    Yeah… You.
    Except you won’t find out until 5-10 years later… when your whole town has a sudden massive cancer outbreak… and the lawyers for the Corporation that knowingly chose profits over your lives, and pumped toxins into the ground… or the river… or the leaking tank right next to your children’s school… and killed you all… will tie it up in court for 20 years… and probably you’ll die before you get a cent.

    None of this is hidden. The information is freely available.
    If you need a grossly dumbed-down version (and I assume you do) I suggest you watch the movie “Erin Brockovitch” based on a true story. It very clearly shows you how the deregulated “Free Market” sacrifices your lives for money and then hides it from you.

    I can’t believe how stupid you are.

    1. Jmz Nesky December 8, 2016

      Let’s just hope they will be the ones who suffer the most and I don’t say that lightly.. They either knew what was in store for the nation by electing this 1% manipulator or they’re as dense as a pile of rocks.. Either way the stupidity in who they put their trust in should be first deserving of what he’s about to do to every one below the title of ‘Elite’.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker December 8, 2016

        Actually, when I worked in environmental engineering for nearly 25 years as their tech writer and accounting manager, I saw regular EPA reports. Did you now that the state with most recorded number of deaths in oil and gas extraction and drilling is Texas? They have an annual records of 39 deaths per year in the workplace according to OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can guess which other states are on the list of the states with the same fatalities: Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Alaska. Since 2014, there have been a total of 843 deaths at these sites. And the reason according to OSHA is the same, “cutting costs” by these industry owners.

        1. Jmz Nesky December 8, 2016

          Quite believable. I mean anyone going into business does it to profit but only the cold hearted will sacrifice human life to achieve it. They call it collateral damage but we know better.

  3. TMZ1928 December 8, 2016

    Another great pick by Trump.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker December 8, 2016

      You bet! A pick he can manipulate using presidential influence to increase this oil stock and investment profits. Dirty dirty dirty dirty….but his slime balls all wallow in that dirt they call “business.”

  4. Dominick Vila December 8, 2016

    Nominating a drill baby drill champion to head the EPA tell us all we need to know about where The Donald stands when it comes to protecting our environment, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inherited from our forefathers.
    I fully expect the Paris agreement to go the way the ACA, and every social program designed to help the poor, the middle class, seniors, and students, are going to go in the not too distant future.
    Trump said he is unpredictable. Judging by most of his Cabinet appointments, he is more predictable than he thinks. Unfortunately, it is going to be too late for most of us to do anything to stop what is about to happen. Hopefully another Barack Obama will emerge to pick up the pieces, and help restore the destruction of everything that required so many sacrifices, and took us so long to build.

    1. Dan S December 8, 2016

      It’s always the Democrats having to clean up the mess left by Republicans. How did the GOP ever get to be known as the party of fiscal responsibility anyway ? They keep running up these massive deficits & then blame the Democrats when they’re in the WhiteHouse

      1. Dominick Vila December 8, 2016

        The schism between Republican rhetoric, especially on economic and fiscal issues, and reality is wider than the Grand Canyon.
        Trickle down economics was a disaster when Reagan and W embraced it, and it will be again under Trump. Deficit spending has been a part of GOP governance for decades, in contrast with what was accomplished on that front by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Their rhetoric helps them win elections, their failures always ends up on the lap of the Democrats that have to clean up the mess they create.

    2. Eleanore Whitaker December 8, 2016

      Dominick …He refused to disclose his tax records because they would have shown the dividends he earned from several major US industries: oil and fracking and the military industries.

      Time to just let him run with it. He’ll screw up as he always does and then we are RID of him and the blessing in disguise? The Republican Party too.

      1. iamproteus December 8, 2016

        “….and then we are RID of him and the blessing in disguise? The Republican Party too.”

        If only! But I can’t help being skeptical. I thought we were going to dump Trump AND his party in November but behold what the idiots in the country have wrought. Or perhaps Trump was right about one thing…..the election really WAS rigged!

        1. Eleanore Whitaker December 9, 2016

          To understand Trump, you’d need to be as mentally unbalanced as he is. Over the last 3 decades, people in his Metro region got to know some of his all too predictable linguistics. For example, you know that slogan, “Make America Great Again.” He really meant, “Make America GRATE Again.”

          Once you ask him what he means by that, he’ll tell you it was so great when there was less government interference in business and the corruption he and his billionaire boys got away with gave them the current oligarch status they now hold.

          America, to Trump, is NEVER great when there are rules and regulations that protect human life, human rights and create a society that isn’t totally in chaos. Trump loves chaos. So do Republicans.

          Look at their strategy since Reagan: Divide and Conquer. They accomplished both didn’t they? And what is the end result? No one today trusts any of the media because oligarchs own it all. No one trusts corporations, because, as we’ve seen, if Trump is any example of corporate policies and leadership, it takes massive lies, wheeling and dealing and controlling wages to bring the country under their control.

          No one but those who profit most from corporate CEO policies trusts Wall Street, Big Pharma, HMOs, Big Insurance, Big Oil, For Profit Prisons and the Military Industrialists. So you can see how that Divide and Conquer has now created a society in which decency, honesty and justice no longer matter. In a nutshell? Our society is broken down by the very men like Trump who were responsible for making America lose its “greatness.”

          The very men who now want to blame the rest of us, deflect the massive guilt they own and are not man enough to own up to. Make America Grate Again…allow men like Trump to break every law, rule and regulation. America will GRATE alright and become as shredded as grated cheese.

  5. Dan S December 8, 2016

    Oh man and to think everyone thought James Watts was bad under Reagan. This is by far the worst appointment to his new cabinet. Who cares about clean water and air ? We can just buy bottled water & air purifiers and to those who can’t afford it tough luck. So much for Trumps promise to surround himself with all these bright smart people he kept talking about

    1. dpaano December 8, 2016

      You have to be “bright and smart” to begin with in order to surround yourself with people of the same ilk…..Trump is NO WHERE NEAR being either!

      1. Dan S December 8, 2016

        True Trump is not any smarter than his appointments are. He just wants to make sure he doesn’t hire someone more competent than he is like Mitt Romney

  6. Eleanore Whitaker December 8, 2016

    Wow…The Penthouse Pumpkin goes right for his Wall Street portfolio on this one. Now we know why the Penthouse Pumpkin refused to disclose his tax reports even when the IRS said there was no reason he couldn’t since 44 other presidents did.

    Where is his promise that if he was elected he would disclose his taxes?

    We don’t even need to connect the dots to everything this scum bag is getting away with. He owns a portfolio of investments in the Bakken Oil project and several others.

    At some point do the chicken livered Republicans plan to continue to allow this president to use his presidential influence to make his wealth grow? At some point, do the asshat Republicans think Americans will just allow Trump to profit from being president by wheeling and dealing with his business cronies behind the scenes?

    The Penthouse Pumpkin is as close to high crimes and misdemeanors as it gets. The Republicans automatically assume they can use their majority as a whip to beat anyone who dares stop Trump. Really? Want to bet?

  7. Eleanore Whitaker December 8, 2016

    Not that it really matters to Republican criminals but there is a real reason Trump wants to reopen coal mining in the US…not for use in the US. Wake up people! Putin just open a huge coal mining operation in Siberia. Most of that coal will end up in China. The US coal will be shipped offshore like US oil is. No one uses coal for heating anymore and even the larger US industries are all converting to solar, geothermal and wind power.

    So, once again…Putin and Trump. Trump and Putin…great little agreement there right?

  8. dpaano December 8, 2016

    He can elect anyone he wants, but I can guarantee you, he WON’T be allowed to come into the State of California and undo all of the environmental laws, etc., that our Governor has passed…..we won’t stand for it! And, if he tries to interfere in our laws about fracking, offshore oil rigs, etc., he’s going to find out he’s barking up the wrong tree!!
    It’s amazing that he talks with Al Gore and agrees with him; he talks with Leo DeCaprio and agrees with him…..but, in the end, it’s just a false face that he puts on because he has NO intention of listening to any of these people when it comes to climate control, etc.! How anyone sitting down to talk to him, even President Obama, and actually believing that he’s listening to them is amazing to me!


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