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Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt will be named chief of the Environmental Protection Agency by President-elect Donald Trump, according to a member of his transition team.
The news was predictably welcomed by the oil industry, while predictably causing outrage among environmentalists.
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.
If Pruitt gets the job – his appointment must be approved by the Senate – the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan may not be long for this world: Pruitt told Reuters a few months ago that he considers the Clean Power Plan a form of “coercion and commandeering” on the part of the federal government. He then said that Oklahoma must be free to make its own choices about carbon emissions.
The Clean Power Plan represents the core of the U.S.’s commitment under the Paris agreement on climate change, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and slow down the rise of global temperatures.
In a recent tweet, Pruitt noted that he has been “fighting the Clean Power Plan for six years,” along with other popular initiatives undertaken by the Obama administration over the past eight years. He has accused the administration of regulatory overreach and “a blatant disrespect for the rule of law,” calling the Clean Power Plan and other policies “disastrous.”
While Donald Trump himself said climate change was a hoax on the campaign trail, since winning the vote he has vowed to “keep an open mind” on the issue, and earlier this week met with one of the leaders of the environmentalist movement in the U.S, former Vice President Al Gore.
Some legislators are already preparing to fight Pruitt’s nomination in Senate.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.