On Monday, those of us who would like to keep this whole “human civilization” thing going for a few more centuries were provided a ray of hope: President-elect Donald Trump met with inconvenient-truth-teller Al Gore. The meeting came days after Politico reported that Ivanka Trump planned to make climate change one of her “signature issues.”
Thus, for a moment there, it seemed like the president-elect might have decided that he’d rather not do everything in his power to accelerate the onset of ecological catastrophe.
And then, on Wednesday, Trump named Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as his pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (or, as it may soon be known, the Environmental Destruction Agency).
Pruitt is one of the nation’s leading opponents of the current EPA’s climate-change policies, helping to coordinate a 28-state lawsuit against new limitations on the amount of carbon that power plants can emit. But his opposition to environmental protection extends beyond climate denial: While most conservatives dismiss the significance of global warming, many still believe it makes sense for the government to keep poison out of the air and water.
Not Pruitt. He has unsuccessfully sued the EPA over regulations on smog pollution, and over a rule that safeguards wetlands and streams — that filter into drinking water — against contamination.
The man is so in the pocket of the energy industry, he once took a letter decrying fracking regulations — sent to him by the oil company Devon Energy — copied the text of the letter onto Oklahoma government stationery, and mailed it off to the EPA.
Now, he won’t need to write letters or bring lawsuits to express his contempt for any policy that puts the public interest above the energy’s industry short-term profits — he’ll be able to undermine those policies directly.
But at least Ivanka plans to “speak out.”