Attorney General Who Is Suing The EPA Picked By Trump To Head EPA

President-elect Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has strong ties to the energy industry, is an outspoken critic of climate change, clean energy efforts, and federal regulation in general, and who is currently involved in multi-state lawsuits against the very agency he may soon be put in charge of.

Pruitt, who has been Oklahoma’s AG for six years, is among the attorneys general signing on to litigation alleging that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — which would, among other things, establish a nationwide limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants — violates existing federal law.

“The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity,” Pruitt said in 2015, per Bloomberg.

During his presidential campaign, Trump declared that if he was was elected he would “scrap the Clean Power Plan,” which he described as a “war on coal and the war on miners.”

The Washington Post notes that Pruitt is also among the AGs filing a complaint over the EPA’s recently announced regulations to curb methane emissions.

A 2014 investigation by the NY Times found that a letter sent by Pruitt to the EPA, accusing the agency of exaggerating the amount of air pollution resulting from new natural gas wells in Oklahoma, had actually been written by lawyers for oil and gas giant Devon Energy.

Pruitt has been a vocal opponent of other federal regulatory and reform efforts. His official bio proudly states that he was the first state attorney general to file a lawsuit in an effort to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Under his tenure, Oklahoma was also the only holdout to the massive $25 billion mortgage robosigning settlement with the nation’s largest banks.

Response to Pruitt’s nomination from environmental advocates is decidedly negative.

“Over the past five years, Pruitt has used his position as Oklahoma’s top prosecutor to sue the EPA in a series of attempts to deny Americans the benefits of reducing mercury, arsenic, and other toxins from the air we breathe; cutting smog that can cause asthma attacks; and protecting our wetlands and streams,” says Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement about today’s news.

Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, said today that nominating Pruitt to run the EPA is analogous to “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.”

Pruitt, argues Brune, “cannot be trusted to head the EPA, an agency charged with protecting all Americans from threats to their water, air, and health.”

On Twitter, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) called Pruitt’s nomination “sad and dangerous.”

It’s a sentiment that other lawmakers have echoed:

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Jim Inhofe — also from Oklahoma, and Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment — has praised Pruitt’s nomination.

Inhofe called the AG a “leader and a partner on environmental issues” who — by suing the EPA — “has proven that being a good steward of the environment does not mean burdening tax payers and businesses with red tape.”

The Committee’s Ranking Member, Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) counters this statement, claiming, “There can be no doubt that Mr. Pruitt is the wrong choice because he will continue to try to roll back our landmark environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and that is disastrous for the American people.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.