Trump's pick for EPA chief could clean up Obama mess

President-elect Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s the same agency he has repeatedly sued and criticized, to the chagrin of Democrats.

Radical environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club have compared Pruitt’s selection to “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.” Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markay said the EPA under Pruitt’s leadership could come to stand for “Every Polluter’s Ally.”


How laughable.

The EPA under the Obama Administration has routinely pushed an extreme agenda way out of the mainstream.Under the tenure of current EPA administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthySenators question whether EPA security contract is conflict of interest Overnight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE, the agency promulgated a slew of unnecessary regulations. The agency labeled clean water as a pollutant, harassed farmers and property owners, and attempted to ban lead in ammunition and fishing tackle, among many things.

Americans share a large responsibility to protect the environment. How can they do that if their livelihoods are threatened or jeopardized by unnecessary regulations?

Pruitt, on the other hand, said his goal as EPA administrator would be to protect both the environment and American businesses. This would be a step in the right direction to make the EPA effective as an agency. 

He’s also made his views on oil and gas abundantly clear, and a majority of Americans agree with him that more exploration should be on the horizon. In 2015, a Gallup poll found that American views on oil and gas exploration are growing favorably with 34 percent of respondents offering support for it.

Oil and gas aren’t going anywhere, nor should they be phased-out. In addition to exploring alternative energy sources, it’s worthwhile to explore more oil reserves, like the one in Texas said to be the largest oil reserve to date.

An energy renaissance is imminent. Why kill its potential?  There are plenty of untapped reserves that can be safely explored here that will help reduce our reliance on oil exports, lead to lower gas prices, and create jobs for Americans.

The scandal-laden department could witness great improvement under Pruitt’s leadership. Rather than being known for having employees who defecate in their offices or handing out farmers’ information to environmentalist groups, the EPA could stand for actually protecting the environment without encroaching on people’s lives and properties.

The EPA’s incompetence was greatly revealed after their mishandling of the 2015 Animas River mine spill in Colorado that polluted three million gallons of water. This was easily preventable, yet the agency failed to head warnings. The cost of damages from the spill reportedly cost $50 billion.

So much for cost efficiency and protecting the environment.

In spite of criticisms hurled at Pruitt, what do Americans have to lose with a reformer? Nothing. 

With respect to Pruitt’s so-called “dangerous” views on climate change theory, he’s not alone in his skepticism. A December 5th Pew Research poll found that only 27 percent of Americans polled believe there’s a consensus that climate change is anthropogenic or human-caused.

Suggesting Pruitt’s selection means the inevitability of dirty air and dirty water is preposterous. Americans—conservatives included—like to have clean surroundings and nature to admire. However, environmental protections that deviate from their goals and encroach on freedoms must be discouraged and stopped. They do nothing to bolster the environment; they only benefit cronies who profit from these radical environmental policies. 

Pruitt could bring about a much-needed balance to the EPA. Let’s give him a chance.

Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) is a conservative media strategist and consultant based in Northern Virginia.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.