By Natalia Castro
Americans for Limited Government announced just a week after the election that job one of the Trump administration must be to dismantle the EPA regulations which are crippling our economy; less than a month after he became President-elect, and Donald Trump has already begun this mission.
With the latest appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is allowing Pruitt to continue his crusade against EPA overreach he has been fighting for years.
During his time as attorney general in the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, he has led several law suits against EPA regulations in his state. In 2014 when the EPA proposed new rules to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Pruitt responded telling State Impact News that, “The EPA can’t force utility companies to actually incorporate emission control measures unless they’re achievable through technology. And here, there really isn’t any demonstrated technology that will see a reduction of 30 percent.”
Oklahoma and Texas joined together for a Supreme Court case that year the EPA likely overstepped their authority. The case argued that despite how the Obama administration and the agency itself were interpreting the Clean Air Act, it was not a blanket agreement for the EPA to act however they see fit.
Pruitt also led the fight against cross state air pollution rules, mercury and air toxins reduction, and regional haze regulations. Pruitt has also sued the EPA to take apart the agency’s sue and settle scam to expand its powers.
Pruitt’s battles are not about science; they never have been. They are about the crippling regulations the unelected bureaucrats of the EPA impose on states and businesses that destroy local economies.
Since the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the agency has regulated carbon emissions as “harmful pollutants” under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Then, under the Obama administration that is exactly what the EPA did with the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding. This rulemaking in turn has been used to justify the continual implementation of regulations that expand the agency’s power and wage a war on coal via the new and existing power plant rules.
The EPA has expanded its reach through sue and settle lawsuits as well. Environmental groups sue the EPA or local governments demanding to have issues addressed. To avoid further litigation, the parties settle the suit and the EPA is given permission to address the issue with newly expanded powers, even if previously the EPA had not jurisdiction or authority over the issue.
Pruitt has already taken a stance against these abusive tactics, not only because they provide the EPA with impermissible powers but because when these “friendly lawsuits” are encouraged they adversely affect the due process system. Pruitt attacked the “loopholes” to legislation that the EPA had been finding, and forced them to be accountable for their policy.
Now as EPA administrator, Pruitt won’t need to sue to get these regulations rescinded. While the removal of these regulations can sometimes take years under the terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, the process will be infinitely more focused and efficient with Pruitt to begin action immediately. We can be certain he’ll get started right away.
The EPA has spent nearly a decade overreaching its power and hampering state economies, finally the agency will be brought to heel by Pruitt. Trump’s selection of Pruitt is evidence of his belief in the American economy above all else, and the coal workers who helped elect Trump to end the war on coal electricity can once again celebrate that he is following through on his promises to the people.
Natalia Castro is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.