Environment

Here’s how Trump’s EPA pick could destroy the earth

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Scott Pruitt

Image: Flickr

Donald Trump has named his pick for head of the EPA. And the choice has many environmental groups concerned.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination shows the President-elect’s main environmental focus will be to remove restrictions on businesses that were put in place to protect the environment. Pruitt has been involved in a number of lawsuits against the EPA that were aimed at rolling back environmental protections.

In addition, Pruitt has declared that he supports Trump in overturning the environmentally conscious executive actions set down by President Obama, vowing that he will support the new president in “rescinding all job-destroying executive actions.”

The pick shows that Donald Trump considers the EPA as an obstacle to be overcome rather than a vital tool to protect the environment. The Trump transition team made this very clear in a press release following the announcement of Pruitt’s nomination, saying, “For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”

Pruitt is even a skeptic of the very existence of climate change. This is a serious problem because of the authority that has historically been given to the EPA includes a number of very broad powers. The EPA is given a lot of leeway in how it regulates the environmental protections that are in place federally.

Now with the head of the EPA being someone who has long sought to do everything in his power to prevent the EPA from performing its goal, it’s hard to imagine that Pruitt will do much to protect the environment over the next four years.

Four years is a long time when it comes to environmental damage. A lot of harm can be done in what seems like a short amount of time. Look at the issue of climate change for instance.

Part of the role of the EPA is to both restrict and monitor the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere by manufacturing. The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, headed by the EPA, monitors the amount of greenhouse gas emitted and mandates that all companies report how much they are emitting.

By simply withdrawing enforcement of that program, Pruitt could create a situation where we have no idea how much CO2 is being emitted by corporations and no efforts are being made to stop them.

Sticking to the Paris Accords, which are perhaps the best bet we currently have at slowing down climate change, would be infinitely more difficult with a not just unwilling, but obstructionist EPA. And if the US does not try to enforce the agreement, then it is hard to imagine that other countries would feel obligated to do so either.

Ultimately, Trump’s selection of an outspoken critic of the EPA to lead it indicates that the Trump administration will not be backing off of the disturbing statements Trump made during the campaign. In fact, just the other day Trump said that “nobody really knows if climate change is real.”

These kinds of statements are not only false but dangerous. And they make it painfully clear that the environment will not be getting much help from the president over Trump’s term in office. Let’s hope that too much irreversible damage isn’t done by then.

Wyatt is a writer and your friend. You can follow him on Twitter @WyattRedd.