In a new public letter, senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee expressed reservations about Scott Pruitt’s ties to the energy industry.
President-elect Donald Trump selected Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency when President Obama leaves office Jan. 20.
Pruitt gained national notoriety when in 2014 he sent a letter to the EPA expressing doubts about the EPA’s estimates of air pollution produced by natural gas wells in his state. The letter, it turned out, was an almost word-for-word reproduction of a letter drafted by Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s largest oil and gas companies.
Like Trump, Pruitt is a staunch climate denier and has called the science behind climate change “far from settled.”
In 2015, Pruitt sued the EPA to oppose the Clean Power Plan, a measure that would cut carbon dioxide pollution by nearly one-third from 2005 levels by 2030. The case will likely go before the Supreme Court this year.
Pruitt has also sued to oppose EPA cornerstones like the Clean Water Rule (calling it a “classic case of overreach”) and the Clean Air Act.
Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the fossil fuel industry and his apparent opposition to the very mission of the agency he may soon be tasked with running has some senators justifiably worried. Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Ben Cardin (Md.), and Independent Bernie Sanders (Vt.) cosigned the letter, which questions whether Pruitt will be able to run the EPA in “a fully transparent manner.”
“We have been troubled that as Attorney General of Oklahoma you used, nearly verbatim, industry talking points in official correspondence your office sent to EPA concerning EPA’s estimation of methane pollution in your state.”
The senators also question Pruitt’s involvement with the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a public policy organization for Republican attorneys general. The fund does not disclose its donors. But sources indicate that the RLDF received funding from individuals and companies aligned with the fossil fuel industry, including Devon Energy and the Koch Brothers.
Check out the video below to learn more about the concerns over Oklahoma’s Attorney General:
Featured image via YouTube video.