President-elect Donald Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Who exactly is Pruitt, and what can Americans expect out of him as EPA chief?
Here are seven things you need to know about Pruitt.
1. Pruitt is a "climate skeptic." The media has been labeling Pruitt as such because he co-wrote a National Review piece with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange where they declared that the "debate is far from settled" on climate change.
"Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind," Pruitt and Strange wrote. "That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress."
Pruitt's statement on climate change was only a portion of a piece that focused mostly on a coalition that aimed "to criminally investigate oil and gas companies that have disputed the science behind man-made global warming." The piece is dedicated almost entirely to defending free speech and condemning criminalizing dissent, but that line about scientists disagreeing about the impact of climate change is what the media wants to focus on.
Pruitt's statement about the scientists is also accurate.
2. Pruitt has fought against the EPA numerous times. Pruitt has filed several lawsuits against onerous EPA regulations that overstep the agency's authority, including:
- Leading a challenge to the EPA’s so-called “Waters of the United State Rule,” an attempt by the Obama Administration to seize federal control over virtually all bodies of water in the United States.
- Securing a historic stay from SCOTUS of the so-called Clean Power Plan and was singled out for developing the constitutional arguments in opposition to the Clean Power Plan.
- Leading challenges to EPA rules relating to regional haze, ozone, greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide regulations.
Pruitt also challenged the EPA's ethanol mandate, but the Supreme Court wouldn't hear the case.
Naturally, Pruitt is rather well-versed in environmental law, making him a qualified fit for the position. Should he get confirmed, Pruitt would likely have the know-how to slice through the bureaucratic quagmire to pull back on the EPA's massive amounts of regulations.
3. Pruitt started the first-ever Federalism Unit in the Oklahoma attorney general's office. The unit focuses on restoring state sovereignty from the encroachment of the federal government – suggesting that Pruitt is committed to the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.
4. Pruitt has fought the Obama administration in court outside of just EPA matters. Pruitt was the first one to challenge the Obama administration's efforts to provide federal Obamacare subsidies to states that didn't establish exchanges. He was also one of the most crucial figures in getting Obama's executive amnesty overturned in the judiciary.
5. Pruitt also supported the Hobby Lobby case that ruled in favor of religious freedom. According to Oklahoma's News 9:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that privately-held companies don't have to provide birth control to their employees, if that goes against their religious beliefs. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says he's thankful for the high court's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby. He's known the founders — the Green family — for years, and had filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of their position.
6. Pruitt was a Republican Oklahoma state senator before becoming the state's attorney general. He served in the state senate from 1998 to 2006 and held positions as the party whip and assistant floor leader. Most of the legislation Pruitt championed "included greater accountability for government spending and faith-based legislation," per Ballotpedia.
7. The Democrats will fight his nomination. The left is in hysterics over Pruitt, with two notables being Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders:
Climate change denier Scott Pruitt has worked with fossil fuel companies to make us more dependent on fossil fuels. https://t.co/ipXhImrXFY— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2016
If Schumer is tweeting out opposition to Pruitt, then the scheming senator will likely use any possible resource to stonewall Pruitt's appointment. Conservatives can take solace in the fact that Pruitt seems to strike fear in the hearts of Schumer and other leftists.