Former Bush EPA head blasts Trump's pick

Former Bush EPA head blasts Trump's pick
© Greg Nash

Christine Todd Whitman, a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief under George W. Bush, knocked President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE’s pick to helm the agency.

Trump announced last week that he'll nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) to serve as EPA administrator. Pruitt has been a vocal opponent of the agency, and both he and the president-elect have said they support “rescinding all job-destroying executive actions.”

“I don’t recall ever having seen an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does,” Whitman told Grist in an interview.

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“It doesn’t put us in a good place, in my mind,” she continued. “And he’s going to have trouble within the agency if he does convey that kind of disdain to the career staff.”

Pruitt has sued the EPA under President Obama over most major environmental regulations and has been a top crusader against the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. The Republican attorney general is a close ally of the oil and natural gas industries and doubts the science of climate change.

“He obviously doesn’t care much for the agency or any of the regulations it has promulgated,” Whitman said. “He doesn’t believe in climate change; he wants to roll back the Clean Power Plan.”

Whitman, a former New Jersey governor who served as head of the EPA from 2001 to 2003, expressed concern over Pruitt butting heads with EPA staff but also noted that those within the Republican base could stand in the attorney general’s way.

Unlike many within the Republican Party, Whitman believes the GOP should tackle the issue of climate change and believes human activity has contributed to it.

“I never thought Trump was particularly an ideologue, but the picks have been a very conservative mindset,” she said. “That will tell you he is quite serious about the anti-government pronouncements he made.”