Why Scott Pruitt Is A ‘Dangerous’ Choice To Lead The EPA
He has threatened to undermine protections for air and water.
President Donald Trump is <a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-climate-change-action_us_5847dd05e4b08c82e888db36?kqqhr4fjbss9py14i”>no environmental champion</a>, but even he has said it’s “vitally important” to have “<a href=”https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-interview-transcript.html” target=”_blank”>crystal clean</a>” air and water.<strong> </strong>Pruitt, however, has proven himself to be antagonistic to even this idea. <br><br>Since taking office as Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2011, Pruitt has sued the Environmental Protection Agency on multiple occasions in an effort to overturn rules limiting air pollution from power plants — including the <a href=”https://www.epa.gov/csapr”>Cross-State Air Pollution Rule</a>, which curbs power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, and the <a href=”https://www.epa.gov/mats/epa-announces-mercury-and-air-toxics-standards-mats-power-plants-rules-and-fact-sheets”>Mercury and Air Toxics Standards</a>, which place limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollution.<br><br>As Elliott Negin, a senior writer at<strong> </strong>the Union of Concerned Scientists, <a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/trump-epa-nominee-scott-p_b_13932232.html” target=”_blank”>explained in January</a>, those are both life-saving regulations: “Taken together, they are <a href=”https://www3.epa.gov/ttn/ecas/regdata/Benefits/casprmats.pdf”>projected</a> to prevent 18,000 to 46,000 premature deaths across the country and save $150 billion to $380 billion in health care costs annually. In Pruitt’s home state, the two regulations would avert as many as 720 premature deaths and save as much as $5.9 billion per year.”<br><br>Pruitt <a href=”http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/courts/oklahoma-attorney-general-scott-pruitt-sues-epa-again/article_c603ba08-dd62-5b0a-ad3e-e4b8d0e2d977.html”>sued</a> the EPA in 2015 over the <a href=”http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/rule_preamble_web_version.pdf” target=”_blank”>Waters of the United States rule</a> – which, in a piece co-written with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), he <a href=”http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/234685-epa-water-rule-is-blow-to-americans-private-property-rights”>called</a> the “greatest blow to private property rights the modern era has seen.” The <a href=”http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/trump-public-lands-waters-united-states-environment/” target=”_blank”>rule</a>, which is currently tied up in the courts, extends EPA protection to tens of millions of acres of wetlands and millions of miles of streams, including those that <a href=”https://www.nrdc.org/issues/enforce-clean-water-act” target=”_blank”>1 in 3 Americans rely on for drinking water</a>.<br><br>Pruitt also sued the EPA over its <a href=”https://www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution/2015-revision-2008-ozone-national-ambient-air-quality-standards-naaqs-supporting” target=”_blank”>2015 regulation</a> strengthening the national health standards <a href=”http://newsok.com/oklahoma-joins-five-states-in-suit-against-new-epa-ozone-limits/article/5456440?custom_click=rss” target=”_blank”>for ground-level ozone</a> or smog pollution.<br><br>Several of these lawsuits are still ongoing, and environmental advocates have called on Pruitt to recuse himself from decisions related to the regulations he’s challenged in court. Legal experts told Bloomberg, however, that they knew of <a href=”https://www.bna.com/epa-foe-pruitt-n73014448247/” target=”_blank”>no rules in place</a> that would compel such an action on Pruitt’s part.<br><br>“Every American should be appalled that President-elect Trump just picked someone who has made a career of being a vocal defender for polluters to head our Environmental Protection Agency,” Trip Van Noppen, president of Earthjustice, <a href=”http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2016/earthjustice-responds-to-president-elect-trump-s-pick-to-head-the-environmental-protection-agency” target=”_blank”>said</a> in a December 2016 statement. “He has fought Environmental Protection Agency pollution limits on toxic substances like soot and mercury that put us all at risk for increased cancer, childhood asthma and other health problems. He falsely claims that fracking doesn’t contaminate drinking water supplies.”