Two things that Scott Pruitt just said prove that he is so deep into the pocket of big oil company polluters that he can’t find his way out. He’s not fit to head the EPA.
Here’s what Pruitt said:
(1) “I think people across this country look at the EPA much as they look at the IRS.” That’s what he recently told the Conservative Political Action Conference. But he’s dead wrong. Here’s the truth: It’s not the “people across this country” who look at the EPA like it’s the IRS. It’s polluters who look at the EPA like it’s the IRS. Because the EPA has the power to make them stop polluting, to clean up the pollution they cause, and to protect the American people against pollution. This can cost the polluters a huge amount of money. Polluters fear the EPA because of this power. Polluters hate the EPA because of this power. But “people across the country” don’t fear or hate the EPA. They think of the EPA as the cavalry, riding in to protect them when some polluter has ruined their environment. They know they don’t have the political or financial power to stop polluters-especially the biggest and worst ones, like the big oil companies. So, they think of the EPA as someone who will stop polluters for them, as the people’s protector (even if the EPA doesn’t always merit this respect). I know this because, during my 17 + years of representing literally thousands of families whose air, water, or soil has been contaminated by reckless polluters, that’s what they tell me. That’s what they think of the EPA. That’s what they want and expect the EPA to be. Nothing remotely like the IRS.
But Scott Pruitt thinks the “people” hate the EPA because the people he’s dedicated his whole career to helping-big oil and its executives-hate the EPA. Actually, he has no idea how the tens of millions of other “people” really think. He doesn’t care. In Scott Pruitt’s world, they’re merely the collateral damage of the pollution he is determined to allow his friends to cause.
(2) “I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” That’s what Pruitt recently said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. It’s a monstrously false statement, contradicting the conclusion of every credible scientist in the world, and a century of established science. This includes the work and conclusions of the three most important government agencies on this topic-NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the EPA itself, the agency that Pruitt now heads. NASA and NOAA, for example, recently reported that the earth’s 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever-“a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”
So, why is Scott Pruitt saying such a false and dangerous thing? Because now, as the new EPA chief, he is re-affirming his loyalty oath to the big oil industry polluters that he spent his years as Oklahoma’s attorney general trying to help. It’s as if he is saying: “Hey, guys, just because I’m head of the EPA, that doesn’t mean anything has changed. You can still count on me. I’m still your guy.”
Bottom line: the country’s biggest denier of scientific truth now controls the agency which is supposed to be using science to protect human health and the environment. As the Executive Director of the Sierra Club sadly noted: “The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department.”
Scott Pruitt thinks that’s a compliment.