Everything You Need to Know About Donald Trump's Pick to Head EPA, Scott Pruitt
Pruitt has been chosen by Trump to head the EPA, the agency he's suing.
Here is everything you need to know about Pruitt, and his relationship with the government agency:
Name: E. Scott Pruitt
What He Does Now: Pruitt is the attorney general of Oklahoma and was elected to the position on Nov. 2, 2010, becoming only the second Republican in the state’s history to serve in that capacity. He ran unopposed for re-election in 2014.
What He Used to Do: While he was attorney general, he served two terms as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association. Before he was Oklahoma's attorney general, he served eight years in the Oklahoma state Senate. He was first elected to the state Senate in 1998. During his time in the state Senate, he was Republican Whip from 2001 to 2003 and then Assistant Republican Floor Leader from 2003 to 2006. In 2001, during a special election, Pruitt launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House. He also ran for lieutenant governor in 2006, but lost in the GOP primary.
Pruitt went into private legal practice after college, specializing in constitutional law.
Hometown: Grew up in Lexington, Ky.
Family Life: Pruitt and his wife, Marlyn, have been married 25 years and have two children, daughter McKenna and son Cade.
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown College; University of Tulsa School of Law
What You Might Not Know About Him: He co-owned the Oklahoma City Redhawks, now the Dodgers, a Triple-A minor league baseball team.
His History With the EPA:
Pruitt has gone head to head with the EPA a number of times since he was elected. The attorney general’s biography page states that Pruitt is a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
Pruitt and his office helped prepare a lawsuit, led by West Virginia, against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Pruitt told Reuters in September he sees the Clean Power Plan as a form of federal "coercion and commandeering" of energy policy.
Here are some the other times Pruitt was involved in cases against the EPA:
2015: Pruitt filed a lawsuit in Tulsa federal court against the EPA over its Clean Water Rule, which defined the jurisdiction of waters in the United States protected under the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Rule, as stated on the EPA's website, protects streams, wetlands and waters that are next to rivers and lakes.
"This regulation usurps the State’s authority over its land and water use, and triggers numerous and costly obligations under the Act for the State and its citizens," the complaint reads.In February 2016, an Oklahoma judge dismissed the case.
2013: Pruitt, along with 11 other Republican attorneys general from different states, sued the EPA in July asking the agency to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Pruitt and the other AGs accused the agency of withholding documents that they say show the EPA and environmental groups working together as part of a “sue and settle” scheme so that regulations can be made. Pruitt filed the multistate lawsuit in Oklahoma City.
The EPA's then-press secretary provided a statement to Fox News denying the allegations: "We have no input or control over what parties sue us or what issues they focus on."
The case was thrown out in December 2013.
2011: In May, Pruitt filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against the EPA over its rejection of an Oklahoma plan to clear regional haze, or emissions, from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. In 2013, The Associated Press reported, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Pruitt’s challenge.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2014, leaving the lower court's decision intact.
On Global Warming
In an op-ed he co-authored in the conservative publication National Review, Pruitt argued: “Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”
About That 2014 New York Times Report
A New York Times investigation from December 2014 said that a letter from Pruitt to the EPA was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, an oil and gas company based in Oklahoma. The letter, the Times reported, “offers a hint of the unprecedented, secretive alliance” Pruitt and other GOP attorneys general formed with top energy companies to fight Obama.
In return, the energy companies donated to their political campaigns, according to the New York Times. According to data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Pruitt received over $270,000 in donations from oil and gas companies over the span of his four campaigns for public office, and Devon Energy contributed $5,000 to his 2010 and 2014 campaigns.
In response to the Times report, Pruitt provided a statement to Oklahoma station KFOR-TV: “The article did not accurately reflect what motivates my service and how we seek to make decisions on advancing these cases…” the statement read.
It added: "Our responsibility is to protect Oklahoma’s interest when any federal agency seeks to displace the authority granted to the state under federal law. This administration has given us plenty of opportunity to litigate those matters in regards to energy, the environment, and health care and that is what is driving us, nothing more or nothing less.
“It should come as no surprise that I am working diligently with Oklahoma energy companies, the people of Oklahoma and the majority of attorneys general to fight the unlawful overreach of the EPA and other federal agencies. This administration’s effort to impose anti-fossil fuel policies are short-sighted, and unconstitutional and I will continue to fight the administration’s unconstitutional maneuvers at every step of the way. Oklahomans understand and appreciate the impact energy companies have on our state.
“The energy industry provides thousands of good-paying jobs and counts for hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that support education, public safety and roads and bridges in our state. The rules and regulations imposed unlawfully and inconsistently by the EPA have real-world implications for the citizens and state of Oklahoma. The EPA’s decision on Regional Haze, for instance, will cause the utility rates of Oklahomans to increase more than 20 percent all while only resulting in a miniscule improvement in air visibility. Others outside Oklahoma may not realize this important fact, but the administration’s unprecedented moves to target energy companies will cost jobs, raise utility rates and are a major obstacle standing in the way of American energy independence.”