In a move that is disheartening for scientists, environmentalists, and humans who live in a reality-based world, Donald Trump is reportedly going to pick Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA.
Why is it disheartening? The EPA is supposed to protect the environment. It’s right there in the name: Environmental Protection Agency. Just about everybody, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell, believe that climate change is a serious issue that puts the world at risk and that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced. Unfortunately, Scott Pruit is not in the “just about everybody” camp. Pruitt is currently using his position as Oklahoma’s AG to sue the EPA. But not just once. He’s currently suing the EPA, the agency he may soon run, over the agency’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce emissions in the electricity sector, and regulations regarding methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.
And I don’t want to besmirch the president-elect and imply that he may be acting inconsistently with his promises to “drain the swamp” and get rid of conflicts of interest in Washington, but there’s a lot of evidence that Pruitt is a pawn of the oil and gas industry. In 2011, for example, he sent letters to the EPA in his official capacity that were literally written by lawyers and lobbyists from oil-and-gas company Devon. His political campaigns, including ones in which he ran unopposed, have been bankrolled by energy companies (and not the clean ones).
So it seems that Trump, notwithstanding Ivanka’s smokescreen of a meeting with Al Gore, is intent on accelerating climate change rather than avoiding it.
An evil businessman with inexhaustible wealth and political influence bringing about rising seas, less land, and chaos all for financial gain? If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the plot to Superman Returns. The only difference is that Trump opted for surgery instead of embracing going bald like Lex Luthor. Perhaps the clearest sign that this is not all coincidence: This year, Pruitt wrote an op-ed in the conservative National Review questioning climate change with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. Strange indeed.