Scott Pruitt

Analysis Shows that Pruitt’s Proposed New Clean Power Plan Will Do More Harm Than Doing Nothing

There’s a lot we don’t know about what EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is up to these days, as he recently spent $25,000 of taxpayer money to have a “cone of silence” placed around his desk. We don’t know exactly what he’s saying, but it’s not hard to guess.

Environmental Experts Say New EPA Head Can't Stop Clean Energy Revolution

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — The World Resources Institute (WRI) has held a press call to discuss the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as the EPA Administrator for the Trump administration. Pruitt’s nomination has been quite controversial given that in his previous job as Oklahoma’s state attorney general he had sued the EPA on numerous occasions, particularly over regulations dealing with the electric power industry. Pruitt has been a leading opponent of Obama’s Clean Power Plan which gave the EPA the authority to regulate CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

On hand for the call were several authorities in the area of environmental and energy policy, including:

  • Sue Tierney, Managing Principal, Analysis Group, and former Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy (and a WRI Board Director)
  • Ralph Becker, former Mayor of Salt Lake City
  • Anne L. Kelly, Senior Program Director, Policy and BICEP Program at CERES
  • Sam Adams, WRI US Director and former mayor of Portland, OR
  • Martha Roberts, EDF, Attorney, U.S. Climate Legal and Regulatory Program

Adams opened by saying that “scrutiny is warranted, considering the responsibility that EPA bears in ensuring public and environmental health of our nation.” Thoughtful analysis is also called for, he said, considering the urgency of issues like climate change.

Recounting some testimony from Pruitt’s confirmation hearing, which, somewhat ironically, fell on the same day that NASA announced that 2016 was the hottest year on record, for the third consecutive year, Pruitt did say that he acknowledged that climate change is real (moderating his prior position) and that there is a human aspect to it. However, he questioned the scientific consensus as to the severity of the problem and the need for action. In his testimony, he conveyed no sense of urgency about the issue. Pruitt, according to Adams, also overstated the significance of the Supreme Court’s temporary suspension of the clean power rule on procedural grounds, and played down his ties with the fossil fuel industry

Pruitt has said, on the record, in reference to his repeated use of his role as the state’s chief enforcement officer to file lawsuits on behalf of companies that have supported his political career, to challenge regulations put in place to protect the health and safety of the people he was sworn to protect, "That's actually called representative government, in my view of the world....” Others might call it political patronage. In one case, it was discovered that Pruitt had copied a  letter from an oil and gas company, nearly verbatim, onto his stationary as Attorney General, before submitting it to the EPA.

Mr. Pruitt also refused to commit to recusing himself as EPA administrator, when confronted with lawsuits against the EPA that he personally filed when Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Martha Roberts shared EDF’s view of Scott Pruitt. Describing him as someone who “has spent his entire professional life attempting to dismantle environmental protections, working hand-in-glove with some of our nation’s biggest polluters, who have bankrolled his political career, that nominee becomes an unacceptable risk to the American people.”

Pruitt is the first EPA nominee that EDF has opposed in its 50-year history. Roberts went on to quote Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator under George W. Bush, who said of Pruitt’s record, “I don’t recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does.”

Study Describes Additional Economic Benefits of Clean Power Plan

(3BlLMedia/Justmeans) — In the weeks ahead, a new administration will take the reins of control in government. On their agenda is the dismantling of many of the environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. One of these, the Clean Power Plan, which was aimed at reducing carbon emissions from electric power plants, has been the target of multiple lawsuits by Scott Pruitt, former Attorney General of Oklahoma, who will soon head the EPA. It seems certain that Pruitt will do what he can to weaken this law, if not eliminate it entirely. The rationale is apparently economic, based on the idea that regulation costs businesses money rather than simply stimulating them to be more innovative.

Protecting public welfare has been the charter and mission of the EPA since its inception in 1973 under the Nixon administration. Research recently conducted jointly at Drexel, Syracuse, Boston and Harvard Universities, has shown a surprising number of the favorable impacts of the Clean Power Plan, beyond protecting the public.

Specifically, the study looked at the impact of the Plan on crops and trees. While the EPA acknowledged a positive impact on crops and trees when first assessing the impact of the Plan, it made no attempt to quantify it.

Fossil fuel plants emit a number of dangerous emissions. These include carbon, nitrogen and sulfur which combine to produce ground-level ozone. Ozone is a well-known inhibitor of plant growth. In modeling these reductions, the researchers found that they “would provide a significant boost to the productivity of key indicator crops, such as corn, cotton, soybean and potato; as well as several tree species.”

Therefore, controlling these emissions would result in higher yields of these crops and a better economic outcome.

Says, Shannon Capps, PhD, an assistant professor in Drexel's College of Engineering, one of the study’s authors, “With policies similar to those in the Clean Power Plan, we're projecting more than a 15 percent reduction in corn productivity losses due to ozone exposure, compared to business as usual, and about half of that for cotton and soybeans. Depending on market value fluctuations of these crops over the next few years, that could mean gains of tens of millions of dollars for farmers--especially in areas like the Ohio River Valley where power plants currently contribute to ground-level ozone."

Battle Shaping Up Between Sacramento and Washington Over Climate Action

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — In what might be shaping up to be the fight of the century, with nothing less than the future of life on this planet at stake, we have the 2017 battle over climate change. In one corner, we have Jerry Brown, lawyer, veteran politician, and the longest serving governor in California’s history. In the other corner, is Donald J. Trump, real estate developer and reality TV star.

In defiance of the consensus of hundreds of the world’s top scientists, Trump has ridiculed climate change, suggesting that it is a non-issue, manufactured by liberals, despite the fact that even the US Department of Defense (not exactly known as a liberal institution), in a report to the Senate Appropriations Committee, considers it “a significant risk to U.S. interests globally.”

Trump seems to be surrounding himself with climate-deniers, including Scott Pruitt, a self-proclaimed enemy of environmental regulation, to head the EPA; former Texas governor and oil man, Rick Perry, as Secretary of Energy; and Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Brown, on the other hand, just appointed Kathleen Kenealy to replace Kamala Harris as acting state Attorney General, after Harris was elected to the Senate. Kenealy had previously served in the state’s Natural Resources Division and fought to enforce regulations on motor vehicle carbon emissions.

Subscribe to Scott Pruitt