Trump’s EPA pick let Republican donors, oil execs draft climate policy

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Donald Trump will name Oklahoma’s climate-denying, Big Oil attorney general to head the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s been an architect of a plan by conservative attorneys generals suing to undo the very agency Trump has now proposed him to lead and public records show that he allowed Republican donors and big oil executives to write climate policies for his office.

Way back in 2011, industry lobbyists hailed new New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for introducing new new dairy rules rolling back Gov. Richardson’s environmental protection rules. Those rules protected drinking water and nearby streams from being infected with manure and urine waste from nearby dairies but required environmental protections dairies opposed paying for.

Months later, public records requests showed that dairy industry lobbyists who had funded her campaign wrote those rules introduced under Martinez’s name.

Two years later and a few hundred miles away, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt delivered a three-page letter to the EPA and White House challenging the EPA’s scientific evaluation of the level of air pollution attributed to oil and gas production, according to a 2014 report in the New York Times :

The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”…

Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.

Devon Energy has given more than $3 million in contributions in New Mexico since Gov. Martinez’s first campaign in 2010. Almost all of that money has gone to Republican candidates, including several $100,000 donations to Super PACs associated with Gov. Martinez used to create sometimes false attacks against Democrats opposing her agenda.

Now Trump’s EPA pick is pushing those very same industry talking point as EPA Administrator-designate. In a statement yesterday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he would roll back EPA regulations and foster “freedom for American business.”

The oil industry is ecstatic about this appointment. According to the NY Times:

Mr. Pruitt, 48, is a hero to conservative activists, one of a group of Republican attorneys general who formed an alliance with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda. Fossil fuel interests greeted Mr. Trump’s selection with elation.

“Attorney General Scott Pruitt has long been a defender of states’ rights and a vocal opponent of the current administration’s overreaching E.P.A.,” said Laura Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which works on behalf of the coal industry.

The EPA’s Impact  in New Mexico

Here in New Mexico, the EPA plays a huge role in protecting our clean air and water and forcing clean up of environmental spills and contaminations.   Here’s a snapshot of cleanup efforts already underway, many of them under remediation or potentially under negotiation for settlement with business interests who caused the spill:

click to view the interactive map at epa.gov

 

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