The EPA has caused considerable economic damage with its global warming regulations. It’s time to end that.
Trump’s nominee to heat the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has a record of opposing EPA regulations. We can expect a concerted attack from Democrats who will try to promote the climate change fraud as real and attempt to sick him with the Climate Denier charge.
The science is settled, you know.
Dems prepare to face off with Trump’s pick to lead EPA
FROM THE HILL: BY DEVIN HENRY – 01/16/17
Democrats are gearing up for battle as Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency heads to the Capitol for his confirmation hearing this week.
Scott Pruitt will testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, giving his opponents their first chance to poke into his record as Oklahoma attorney general, a position he has held since 2011.
Pruitt’s nomination is one of Trump’s most controversial. In Oklahoma, he has emerged as one of the EPA’s most aggressive legal adversaries, and his past tepid statements about the science behind climate change have solidified climate hawks’ opposition to his nomination.
Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee last week previewed an aggressive line of questioning they hope will lay bare his positions during Wednesday’s hearing.
“We’re going to ask tough questions, fair questions,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee’s top Democrat, said this week.
“We want to be guided by the truth and real insights. At the end of the day, we don’t want to go back, we want to go forward.”
Committee Democrats have landed on at least two key talking points against Pruitt: that his nomination represents a conflict of interest because of his work in Oklahoma, and that his views on climate are out of step with the majority of climate scientists.
They will likely employ those arguments as they push Pruitt to answer tough questions for the record.
In letters to government ethics offices on Thursday, nine Democrats on the committee asked for more information about Pruitt’s past campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, as well as clarification on how he will run the EPA in light of his lawsuits against it.
Democrats have also zeroed in on Pruitt’s past statements about climate change.
In a May op-ed with a fellow attorney general, Pruitt wrote that the climate debate is “far from settled” and that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
That statement, Pruitt’s ties to the oil industry and his litigious approach to the EPA enraged the environmental movement, whose Senate allies have vowed to fight Pruitt’s nomination.
“I think the most reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that in every area he has the ability to exercise discretion … he will lean in as far as he possibly can to protect the fossil fuel industry that has for so long been his patron,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a committee member, said at a press conference.
“I think there’s a lot of concern.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said Pruitt “has made his primary professional mission to undermine the authorities that the EPA operates under.”
“I can’t imagine that he’s going to hide that,” he said.
Pruitt, like most Cabinet picks, hasn’t addressed the criticism publicly since his nomination was announced in December. But his supporters expect the Oklahoman to cruise through his confirmation hearing and go to the Senate floor on, at worst, a party-line vote from the committee.
Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist at Bracewell, said Democrats’ arguments won’t stick.
He contended Pruitt’s lawsuits against the EPA don’t reveal an underlying bias against the agency, but rather its direction under President Obama. And he said Pruitt’s statements about climate change shouldn’t prevent him from becoming the country’s top environmental regulator.
“Surely environmentalists don’t believe that you have to support the Clean Power Plan in order to prove that you believe in climate change,” Segal said, noting Pruitt’s lawsuit against Obama’s chief EPA climate rule, which is currently on hold as the suit proceeds.
Pruitt looks poised to clinch his confirmation as long as the Senate’s 52 Republicans are united in their support. But Pruitt backers are also bullish on his chances of attracting votes from moderate Democrats as well, especially those up for reelection in 2018.
“The lesson of [Trump’s] populist message is there is support for someone who is committed to rule of law and a very close reading of statutory authorization,” Segal said. “If Pruitt stands for nothing else, he stands for that.”
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) have met with Pruitt since Trump announced his nomination in December. Both gave him positive reviews in post-meeting statements, and neither closed the door on supporting Pruitt when the Senate considers his confirmation.
Officials in ruby-red West Virginia, which gave Trump 68.7 percent of the vote in November, blame federal regulations for at least part of the downturn in the state’s coal industry. In a statement after his meeting, Manchin said Pruitt “has the right experience for the position.”