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Pruitt, EPA
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is President-elect Trump's pick to head the EPA. Pruitt is known for fighting against EPA policy, and now, if confirmed, he'll be the one who heads it. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

Hamm: Pruitt is a great pick to lead the EPA

This week, President-elect Donald Trump made another appointment that will directly influence the oil and gas industry in the United States. Trump named Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as his choice to run the agency that makes many energy industry folks shudder, just by hearing the name. However, Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is what drilling magnate and fracking pioneer Harold Hamm is calling “a great pick to lead the EPA,” according to CNBC.

The EPA pick sent energy stocks up significantly Friday morning to just over $56 per share. WTI crude was up Friday morning to over $51 per barrel as well.

Hamm told CNBC interviewers that Pruitt would be resolve “regulatory overreach,” that many in the industry have previously noted pose barriers to effective energy production.

As Attorney General, Pruitt led Oklahoma as one of the first states to rebel against the clean power plan, calling it “unlawful and overreaching.” He has accused the EPA of overstating the amount of pollution caused by new natural gas wells in a letter provided by Devon Energy.

Pruitt has also brought suits against the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, challenging endangered species such as the lesser prairie chicken that inhibit drilling in areas where the animal resides. Earlier this year, after the federal government removed the lesser prairie chicken from the list of endangered species in May, Pruitt said in a statement:

“The Obama administration’s unlawful attempt to list the lesser prairie chicken as an endangered species was not based on sound science but a hastily put-together effort by federal agencies, colluding with environmental groups, to engage in sue-and-settle tactics designed to stifle oil and gas exploration in Oklahoma and other states.”

Pruitt as EPA head might have industry leaders like Hamm looking forward to a new energy-friendly environment, but others see Trump’s pick as less than ideal. The Guardian’s headline called Scott Pruitt’s EPA “a dream for oil and gas firms” but a “nightmare for environment.”

Pruitt has not been silent in the past about his skepticism about climate change spurred by human activity. The Guardian notes that just last May, Pruitt wrote, “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.” This stance aligns with statements made by Donald Trump during his campaign, who tweeted in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

4 comments

  1. Mr. Pruit and Mr. Hamm both recognize that peer review scientific approach to environmental regulation applied according to sound engineering principles should be re-instituted at EPA

    Public policies that reflect control of GreenHouse Gases e.g. Carbon Dioxide, Methane should be based upon mis-understanding of current peer review science.
    Recent peer review articles [April and May 2016] reflect a shift in scientific opinions on Global Warming and Climate Change.
    Articles, appearing in American Association for the Advancement of Science [ AAAS] peer review publication, Science, question Methane Emission Control app[lied to Oil and Gas [USEPA regulation] and the effect of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation [AMOC] or Atlantic Conveyor belt causing sea level rises not melting of icebergs due to global warming.
    A review of such recent peer review would place the debate about Global Warming and Climate Change within the Scientific and Technical Community. Policy Makers should be expanding their advisory teams to include experts capable of interpreting published articles to ensure a rational and logical debate.
    Such an approach should be applied to national political issues – forming platforms of nominated candidates. Relying on professional politicians as advisors on such technical issues will not generate meaningful debate nor establish sound governmental policies. Using empirical results, to refute the concerns of Global Warming and Climate Change, poses a stronger argument than subjective rhetoric.

    Goodwin, R.W.; “Polemics vs. Peer Review Science: Global Warming and Climate Change”; Newsletter of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County – July 2016; pg 6

    Dr. Richard W. Goodwin P.E. West Palm Beach FL

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