The United State Senate confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The vote was 52 to 46. Two Democrats – Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota – voted in favor of his nomination. One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, voted against Pruitt’s confirmation.

 

The following statements from environment and energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. Several of the comments below come from speakers at Heartland’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change, to be held Thursday and Friday, March 23–24, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.

“The confirmation of Scott Pruitt signals a return to common sense for the Environmental Protection Agency after nearly a decade of overreach by officials in the Obama administration. Obama’s EPA was fixated on climate change to the point where it was willing to impose massive costs on American citizens for zero measurable environmental benefits – as was the case with Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations.

“Pruitt and the Trump administration are likely to streamline federal regulations that burden our economy and impede repairing our highways, bridges, and dams. Pruitt will also likely do what he can to roll back the Waters of the United States rule, which has been criticized as one of the biggest power grabs by EPA in its history. In short, Pruitt’s nomination is good for our farmers, ranchers, construction workers, or anyone else who gets their hands dirty at work.”

Isaac Orr
Research Fellow, Energy and Environment Policy
The Heartland Institute
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“Under the previous administration, the EPA, to paraphrase Whittaker Chambers, was allowed to ‘feel out the land to see how many inches it could take before reaching a mile.’ With decrees like WOTUS and the Clean Power Plan, the agency acted in such reckless disregard for the rule of law and toward the people it sought to bring under its heavy thumb that even the Washington Post admitted it was ‘helping to justify every negative caricature’ Republicans could make of it. This is why I’m happy to see Scott Pruitt, a committed federalist and champion of sane energy and environmental policy, take over an agency that has been given license to grossly overstep its bounds and is in much need of being reined in.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
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“Pruitt brings to the position a record of extraordinary competence, managerial skill, experience with environmental issues from the perspective of a state official, and, importantly, expertise in constitutional law.

“People in North Dakota and other energy-producing states are pleased with the confirmation of Attorney General Pruitt at EPA because they have lived with the consequences of federal overreach and fought for state sovereignty. Common-sense leadership at EPA will put decision-making back at the state level, energize our traditional energy industries, and put people to work. “The states have had to spend millions of dollars and thousands of staff hours defending and trying to implement the onerous and overreaching rules by EPA over the past eight years. The new EPA administrator and a Congress that is finally using the Congressional Review Act, along with the new president, will now be able to roll back the problems caused by the past administration.

“Energy-producing states are looking forward to having a mid-westerner overseeing the regulation of the coal, oil, and gas industries. It is time to have someone other than east and west coast people who have no clue about the supply of energy and food regulating the ‘fly over states.’ They are not familiar with split estates and how the mixed private, state, and federal property regulatory process is supposed to work.”

Bette Grande
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
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Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.

“After 26 years of exposing and fighting EPA’s fraudulent science and abuse of regulatory power, this is an extremely happy moment.”

Steve Milloy
Founder and publisher, JunkScience.com
Speaker
12th International Conference on Climate Change
The Heartland Institute
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“A breath of fresh air has arrived at the EPA. No longer do we have to listen to ridiculous statements about how EPA regulations will somehow decrease storms or alter global temperatures when the regulations would not even impact global carbon dioxide levels.

“With Pruitt at the helm of EPA, this will perhaps be the strongest contrast between Trump and the Obama administration. Bye-bye to policies based on fighting ‘global warming,’ and hello to rational, science-based decisions and regulations. Hopefully President Trump can quickly overturn the executive orders regarding EPA signed by former President Obama.

“A new day in environmental policy has arrived. America can now lead the rest of the world out of the dark ages of fear and superstition when it comes to climate policy. Welcome Scott Pruitt!”

Marc Morano
Publisher, Climate Depot
Producer, Climate Hustle
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“In selecting Scott Pruitt to head EPA, President Trump didn’t just hit a solid home run here. He won the whole ballgame! EPA has got to get back ‘on mission,’ and Pruitt is the guy who can make it happen. The mission is getting rid of poisons, carcinogens, and toxins in the environment. Carbon dioxide is not one of them and never has been. When EPA succeeds in eliminating all those things that kill people, then it can study the atmospheric gas that make plants grow.”

Tom Wysmuller
Meteorologist and speaker
12th International Conference on Climate Change
The Heartland Institute
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“After decades of irrational state-sponsored climate fervor maybe this at long last is the beginning of the end.”

Christopher Essex
Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics
University of Western Ontario
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“Many Democrat Senators opposed Scott Pruitt as candidate for EPA administrator because of his position on climate change. For example, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said that Pruitt ‘denies the sum of empirical science and the urgency to act on climate change.’

“But Pruitt merely calls for open debate about the issue. Pruitt wrote in National Review (May 2016): ‘Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. 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. That debate should be encouraged – in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. … Dissent is not a crime.’

“Because they assume climate science is ‘settled’ in favor of alarmism, Democrats find Pruitt’s stance repugnant. They trust United Nations climate reports which often label their science conclusions ‘unequivocal,’ in other words, statements that cannot be wrong. But this is irrational. Science, especially in a field this new, is never unequivocal. It is merely today’s opinions of experts based on their current interpretations of empirical data and theoretical considerations. And those interpretations change as we learn more.

“Testifying before the Canadian House of Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development on February 10, 2015, Carleton University geology Professor Tim Patterson explained: ‘In the legal system there is a mechanism to reopen cases when new evidence comes to light. In science this is the norm as well – questioning, re-examining, changing ideas and rejecting old ones when reputable new information surfaces. If Canada’s government is to base climate policy on real science, then they must accept that their policy decisions should be changeable as climate science advances. Otherwise, policy becomes disconnected from science, and we may waste billions of dollars going in entirely the wrong direction.’

“Precisely the same applies in the US. Pruitt is right to try to open up the debate.”

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
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“Hopefully, Scott Pruitt can bring some clarity to the EPA’s murky science. In its responses to comments on its finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health, the EPA wrote: ‘EPA has reviewed and considered the NIPCC [Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change] report and found that it lacks the rigorous procedures and transparency required to serve as a foundation for the endangerment analysis.’

“Yet, a significant component of the health effects the EPA cites in its endangerment analysis are the impacts of tiny particles (PM 2.5) on human health. A key part is unpublished research that the EPA cannot produce for Congress. According to the Government Accountability Office, in 2015 the EPA awarded $3.9 billion in grants, nearly half its budget. Yet, it cannot produce key studies it uses to justify regulation of energy use and the U.S. economy?”

Kenneth Haapala
President
Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
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“Hooray for the nation. This is a big boon to citizens of the nation because Pruitt will stop creation and enforcement of numerous EPA regulations that thwart the use of the nation’s abundant, inexpensive, and geographically distributed coal, oil, and natural gas. These regulations add annual billions of dollars to costs of electricity and transportation fuels.

“In addition, he can rein in the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) enforced by EPA that require our citizens to use expensive renewable fuels like ethanol from corn, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, etc. that raise the price of transportation fuels billions of dollars annually. On top of huge losses at gasoline pumps, taxpayers lose billions per year in subsidies to renewable fuel producers.”

James H. Rust
Professor of nuclear engineering (Ret.), Georgia Tech
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
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“While the EPA has played an important role in reducing environmental pollution it has also grown into a law unto itself through overzealous enforcement well beyond the intent of Congress and by the mass manufacture of dubious unexaminable ‘scientific evidence’ of environmental ‘threats’ to justify an ever expanding bureaucratic reach. A thorough house-cleaning of the EPA empire is long overdue. Hopefully the new administrator will provide it.”

Walter Starck
Policy Advisor, Environment
The Heartland Institute
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