In the struggle between polluters and the people, polluters have long had an ally in Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Given their campaign contributions, even though he couldn’t run for re-election, “ally” might not be a strong enough word. As RL Miller of Climate Hawks put it, “Pruitt is simply a blunt tool of the fossil fuel industry.”
When polluters needed someone to sue the EPA to keep the Clean Power Plan from regulating their products, Pruitt was there. When ExxonMobil needed defending from the #ExxonKnew investigations, Pruitt was there. When Devon Energy needed someone to put their name on a letter the company wrote to the EPA alleging federal regulators were overestimating pollution from energy companies, Pruitt was there.
Now these polluters won’t even have to go through the trouble of passing off their opinion as Pruitt’s. They’ll be able to call him directly, as he has reportedly been tapped by Trump to be EPA administrator.
The phrase “fox guarding the henhouse” has been tossed around a lot lately, but is now more applicable than ever. Pruitt was not only at the center of the New York Times’ investigation that discovered a "unprecedented, secretive alliance" between the fossil fuel industry and Republican Attorneys General, but is also a foe of the Humane Society of the United States.
Yes, the man responsible for protecting animals and the environment in the Trump administration has harassed and criticized the most well-known animal-protecting charity in America, where people go to adopt puppies and help kitties find a home. Pruitt antagonized the group to the point that his predecessor, former Oklahoma AG Drew Edmondson, sued Pruitt on behalf of the Humane Society.
Hopefully Congress can be persuaded to refuse his confirmation and force Trump to choose someone who at least pretends to prioritize people and the planet over fossil fuel profits.
If not, history books will likely have a short answer to the question of how the EPA became a blunt tool of the fossil fuel industry: Pruitt was there.
Like an exploding oil pipeline, they’ll say, during his tenure at the EPA, Scott Pruitt up.
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