Pruitt: Obama regulations were 'war' on business

Pruitt: Obama regulations were 'war' on business
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas EPA inspector general to resign Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina MORE says former President Obama declared "war" on coal and other industries with his administration's environmental regulations and by signing off on the Paris Climate Accord.

"In the past administration, they created tremendous uncertainty by adopting rules and regulations that were an overreach ... Declaring war on any sector of our economy just doesn't make sense at all. But that's exactly what happened with the past administration," Pruitt told John Catsimatidis on AM 970's "The Answer" in an interview that aired Sunday.

"The past administration declared war on coal [and] fossil fuels. Despite the fact that those energy sources are tremendously important to us as a country to generate electricity, to keep costs low, to provide stability to our citizens," he added.

Pruitt said that the Paris Climate Accord, signed in 2016, was not an "America First" policy. The accord, which was originally signed by 195 countries, sought to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world.

"The Paris Accord was not good for this country. It was not an 'America First' approach," Pruitt said. "Why would we as a country go to that type of meeting [in Paris] with the kind of [environmental] progress we've made and be apologetic?"

"[China and India] are polluting [but] don't [have to] take any steps until the future," he added. "And sometimes not at all? That is just a bad deal for this country."

President Trump made repealing environmental regulations and ending Obama's "war on coal" a part of his campaign platform and now White House agenda. Still, Pruitt laments the "political football" that he says his agency has become.

"For the last several years, this agency has become kind of a political football. And it actually encouraged that," he says.

"We need to get back to improving air quality, improving water quality ... That’s some of the best work we can do. And that has been underemphasized for the last number of years.”