Following news that president-elect Donald Trump has chosen Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to serve as Energy Secretary, New Jersey’s Assemblyman John McKeon is calling the choice “extremely disturbing.” McKeon described Pruitt, a longtime ally of the oil and gas industry, as a threat to Washington’s ability to stymie climate change.
“Mr. Pruitt has been a leader of the climate change denying, fossil fuel industry wing of the Republican Party. His work on the public’s behalf has literally been ghost written by lobbyists and executives of the fossil fuel and energy companies.”
Pruitt has spent much of his tenure as attorney general in a protracted legal battle with the EPA. He has said that the question of whether climate change is real is “far from settled,” and describes himself on his LinkedIn page as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
McKeon called the decision a standout among cabinet appointments that have included many who oppose the work of the departments they will be heading.
Education secretary Betty Devos favors private school vouchers the critics say would damage the standing of public schools, and Ben Carson, Trump’s one-time primary opponent, is coming on as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development despite his opposition to social safety net programs and fair housing initiatives. The Trump transition team chose Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, to serve as Treasury Secretary.
“While President-Elect Trump has assembled his cabinet of Goldman Sachs executives and right-wing ideologues, Mr. Pruitt’s nomination to be in charge of safeguarding our nation’s land and water as well as fighting back against climate is just too much,” McKeon continued.
The New York Time reported Thursday that Governor Chris Christie, who had been predicted to be a favorite for a cabinet position because of his early endorsement of Trump, is no longer under consideration to replace Reince Priebus as chairman of the RNC. The window for Homeland Security Secretary, one of the roles pundits had described as a likely fir for the governor, closed Wednesday when Trump appointed retired general John Kelly.
Trump said in statement that he appointed Pruitt for his potential to bring back “millions” of jobs by reducing regulation.
“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn,” Trump said. “He said Pruitt “will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.