Fox To Guard Henhouse – Scott Pruitt Named To Head EPA
If you support environmental protection and failed to vote to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, shame on you. Even if you did your best to stop Trump, now is the time to pray that the environment survives the next four years of a Trump administration.
More properly described as a right wing radical than as a conservative, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt appears to be in line to be named the new head of the EPA under Donald Trump. Before we get to Pruitt’s critiques of, lawsuits against, and wars with the EPA, here’s a little background on where Attorney General Pruitt is coming from.
He’s a personal friend of the owners of Hobby Lobby. You remember the folks who successfully argued that privately held businesses could deny employees contraception coverage under the ACA. Ok, he was on the winning side of that one. But, did you know that he supports distributing Bibles in public schools and has argued that doing so is constitutionally protected? When Oklahomans gathered petition signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot, Pruitt sought to stop the democratic referendum process to prevent any form of legalized marijuana in Oklahoma. He sued to kill the ACA, unsuccessfully. He criticized courts and judges from Oklahoma to the U. S. Supreme Court when his attempt to restrict abortion through the use of off-label drugs was ruled unconstitutional. When the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was constitutionally protected, Pruitt argued that the ruling did not apply in Oklahoma.
But, Pruitt is best known for his wars with the Environmental Protection Agency. He has testified before Congress that the agency is engaged in overreach by its regulations to protect air and water quality from coal burning power plants. Did I mention he also sued and lost, in two courts, over the same issue? Did I mention that he is widely reputed to be in bed with the fossil fuel industry? He has accused the EPA of being on a mission to get rid of all fossil fuel burning in the United States. And just so you know, Oklahoma is not a coal producing state. It relies more on natural gas. Thus, his argument that EPA is out to get all fossil fuels.
Despite multiple court rulings that the EPA was within its authority in designing a variety of regulations, Pruitt insists that EPA is overreaching. No court is apparently able to convince him otherwise. And now, if Trump’s selection is confirmed, one of the EPA’s most ardent detractors stands to become its chief. Whether your concern is oil and gas exploration in the Grand Canyon, wilderness evisceration, fracking or the tremors and earthquakes fracking causes (are you listening Oklahoma?) air quality, water quality, quality of life for humans or animals and their habitats, the EPA selling out to corporate interests, or any of a myriad of environmental issues, take heed: the fox has been appointed to guard, and when it suits him pillage, the hen house.
CODA: The fox/henhouse analogy is particularly apt given Pruitt’s suing the State of California over its egg production regulations which he thought unfair to the egg producers of Oklahoma who sold eggs to California. California regulations required more humane treatment of hens and the production of eggs more likely to be free of toxin or of reduced toxicity. Pruitt saw no use for such restrictions and sued. He lost that one too.