Thursday, December 08, 2016
No sooner do I raise
an eyebrow about the president-elect's meeting with Al Gore, than he
causes a tizzy on the left by naming
one Scott Pruitt as his choice to head
the EPA. But who is Scott Pruitt? "Racist Climate Denier," along
with anything else from the left, is entirely devoid of meaning,
whether because it is a smear or a boy crying wolf. And, as of this
morning, Wikipedia wasn't that helpful regarding either his
qualifications to run a government agency or what he might do with
such authority, once he had it.
But I found the following from a piece in the Weekly Standard about Oklahoma's Attorney General:
[Pruitt] has challenged the EPA's practice of going far beyond its authority to attack the energy industry and thus affect practically every industry in the country. The EPA needs a leash, and Pruitt and other state attorneys general have gone to court to attach it.The piece goes on to note elation on the part of "free-market groups," and that's understandable, given the low bar set by President Obama and the prospect of Hillary Clinton as his successor. However, putting a "leash" on the powerful EPA, is not the same thing as abolishing it, not that I would expect my views to be widely shared among potential appointees for any such office.
Pruitt, 48, is a sharp critic of President Obama's "exceeding" of federal law in environmental and other cases. "He's kept his promise that Washington knows best," Pruitt told me in 2013. But Obama's executive orders are "not consistent with our Constitution and our rule of law."
He and Greg Abbott, then AG of Texas and now the state's governor, succeeded in voiding a dubious EPA rule that claimed air pollution from Texas and Oklahoma was harming Granite City, Illinois. In that case and others, EPA's evidence was pretty skimpy.
Even worse in the view of the environmental lobby, Pruitt is a leader in the effort, so far successful, to block the Clean Power Plan and the vast change it would require in how electricity is produced. The plan violates "at least three separate statutory bars and two constitutional limitations on federal powers," Pruitt's lawsuit to overturn the plan says. [bold added]
So, assuming this is Trump's choice, he sticks with it, the article accurately describes Pruitt's views, and he wins his confirmation battle ... he may be about as good a pick as we can expect. That is, Pruitt might reverse some of the EPA's worst recent excesses, providing us a reprieve from much of the economic damage it is set to wreak. But the EPA looks like it will live to fight, reinvigorated, another day.
I will not complain about breathing room, but I will not call it victory.