Scott Pruitt's EPA: a dream for oil and gas firms is nightmare for environment

Trump’s pick to lead Environmental Protection Agency has supported fossil fuel firms and sought to hobble public health regulations he will be responsible for

If environmentalists were to sketch out the government official of their nightmares, it would likely look much like Scott Pruitt. The Oklahoma attorney general has been a raucous supporter of fossil fuel companies and repeatedly sought to hobble the public health regulations he will soon be responsible for as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Pruitt, 48, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and found his niche in constitutional and employment law. A Republican, he was elected attorney general of Oklahoma in 2010 after a spell as a state senator. Since 2002, Pruitt has received more than $300,000 in contributions from the fossil fuel industry and in 2014 even allowed Devon Energy, an Oklahoma oil and gas firm, to write a three-page complaint to the EPA on his letterhead.

Pruitt has sued the EPA, the agency he is now set to lead, multiple times over what he considers to be unwarranted meddling by the federal government. He has targeted regulations that limit air pollution haze in national parks, methane leaks from drilling, and mercury and arsenic seeping from power plants.

The attorney general even tried to strip protections from the lesser prairie chicken, a threatened bird, because it presented a feathered barrier to oil and gas drilling. Oklahoma has experienced a huge increase in earthquakes due to a boom in drilling over the past decade.

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