Scott Pruitt was recently sworn in as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, despite years of criticizing and suing the EPA.
As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times over President Obama’s two terms. That and his general skepticism about climate change have led to concerns among longtime EPA employees and other environmental groups. The opposition to his appointment argues that his track record shows little regard for environmental protection.
Pruitt and the Trump administration are expected to roll back much of the work President Obama’s administration did to protect the environment. But Pruitt said that environmental protection, energy production and job creation can coexist.
“We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment,” said Pruitt. “That we don’t have to choose between the two. I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure we do the job of protecting our natural resources and protecting our environment while also respecting the economic growth and jobs our nation seeks to have.”
Reports rolling on suggest that President Trump is preparing to sign a number of executive orders to roll back environmental priorities like the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. regulation. Pruitt has yet to make any mention of planned policy changes, but made comments during his confirmation hearing that he believes the EPA has too often overstepped its legal authority, going beyond the language of the statutes passed by Congress to take aggressive regulatory action. In the past, Pruitt has also argued that the EPA often infringed on the rights of states to regulate within their own borders.