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EPA Landing Team Lineup Signals Pro-Oil Shift

Pruitt EPA head

A ten-member landing team for the Environmental Protection Agency, presented by the Trump administration, has demonstrated what the direction of the administration’s policies in the environmental area would be: a sharp turn to oil, gas, and coal, just as Trump said on the campaign trail.

According to Reuters reporters, who have seen the emailed list, the landing team includes three researchers formerly with think-tanks financially supported by the Koch brothers, who among other businesses have significant interests in oil and gas. Also among the members of the team are people who have openly voiced opposition to Obama’s administration’s efforts to fight climate change.

The agency is expected to be headed by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, pending his confirmation by the Senate. Pruitt is notorious not just for his climate change skepticism, but also for several lawsuits he has filed during his time in the AG’s Office of Oklahoma against regulations originating from the EPA, such as regulations designed to reduce smog and toxic emissions from factories, according to Reuters.

During his confirmation hearing, pressed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Pruitt acknowledged that human activity had a part to play in climate change but noted that the size of this part was difficult to measure precisely. According to Newsweek, if confirmed, Pruitt will be in the interesting position of deciding how to respond to his own lawsuits filed during his time as Oklahoma AG.

Separately, media reported that the new presidential administration is already changing things at the agency. According to members of the EPA’s staff, effective Monday, all contract and grant programs were suspended as was outgoing communication until further notice. According to Gizmodo, the former chief of the Trump transition team for the EPA confirmed the suspension of funding programs.

By Irina Slav or Oilprice.com

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