Editorial: Senate should confirm Oklahoma attorney general to head EPA

Scott Pruitt (Getty Image via NPR)

Scott Pruitt (Getty Image via NPR)

After eight years of Obama appointees trying to grab dominion over every square foot of rural land in Nevada and the West, laying claim to every mud puddle, dictating how clean the air must be and generally trampling states’ rights under a stampede of bureaucrats, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency promises to be an abrupt about-face and double-time march toward sanity.

Trump’s pick to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has locked horns with the EPA and other federal agencies several times in recent years, including challenging the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) overreach, Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions and even Obama’s failed effort to impose stricter overtime rules and costs on businesses and state and local governments.

Nevada’s own attorney general, Adam Laxalt, upon learning of the pending appointment immediately issued a statement praising the selection of Pruitt, who has joined with Nevada and other states in fighting a number of administration power grabs.

“I am confident that AG Pruitt will strike the right balance between protecting the environment and not using regulations to stifle job growth and energy exploration in the U.S.,” Laxalt said. “He is a tireless public servant who will continue to serve our country well and be an asset to the President-elect’s administration. I look forward to working with AG Pruitt and the incoming administration on issues affecting Nevadans, including Waters of the U.S., ozone standards and regulations for competitive racing vehicles.”

An example of Pruitt’s views on the role of the federal government and the rights of the citizens and local governance came when he filed suit over the EPA’s WOTUS rules.

“Respect for private property rights have allowed our nation to thrive, but with the recently finalized rule, farmers, ranchers, developers, industry, and individual property owners will now be subject to the unpredictable, unsound, and often byzantine regulatory regime of the EPA,” Pruitt told the press at the time. “I, and many other local, state and national leaders across the country, made clear to the EPA our concerns and opposition to redefining the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ However, the EPA’s brazen effort to stifle private property rights has left Oklahoma with few options to deter the harm that its rule will do.”

When Oklahoma joined the 29 states, including Nevada, suing the federal government over Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which was an attempt to shut down virtually all electricity generation with fossil fuels and replace it with more expensive renewables, Pruitt commented, “This administration continues to treat states as mere vessels of federal will, abusing and disrespecting the vertical separation of powers defined by our Constitution.”

Pruitt also sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of his state and a coalition of oil and gas companies over the federal agency’s practice of “sue and settle,” whereby it would cave in to frivolous ESA lawsuits by self-styled environmental groups and restrict use of public and private land.

His arguments paralleled those that have been made by Laxalt and Gov. Brian Sandoval. Pruitt said the agency was making land use “determinations without a thorough review of the science. This violates the original statute requiring sound science before listing species.” He added this also breaks federal law by “ignoring state and local conservation measures.”

The heads of environmentalists are exploding over Pruitt’s appointment and many are calling on the Senate to use its advise and consent power to vote against his confirmation.

The greens positively fulminate over statements like the ones made by Pruitt and the Alabama attorney general in an op-ed in National Review in May: “Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”

We call on Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who will be the state’s senior senator after Harry Reid thankfully retires, to stand behind Pruitt as an appointee who promises to stand up for states’ and individuals’ rights and a Federalist form of government. We won’t deign to bother with imploring Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

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9 comments on “Editorial: Senate should confirm Oklahoma attorney general to head EPA

  1. deleted says:

    Count on some states to fight the intended overreach of Trumps federal Government in it’s race to the bottom.

    The best one, or at least, the most popular one, is atategerizing even now.

    http://www.npr.org/2016/12/17/505904428/california-gets-ready-to-defy-trumps-washington?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=storiesfromnpr

  2. Bill says:

    Wouldn’t it be supremely ironic if the State of California, in their announced defiance of “Trump’s Washington” were to invoke the 10th Amendment to the Constitution? How refreshing for California to join the ranks of those who have opposed the creeping federalism of our democratic republic. Perhaps next they will join the fight over such things as regulating the present and future uses of public and private lands.

  3. deleted says:

    How illogical does a state have to be to “invoke” the redundant 10th Amendment to the Constitution?

    Doing so, would mean that other states, are as dumb as Nevada.

    Course, given that this state’s AG was described by his first (and only) law firm as (paraphrasing here) “a moron” it’s not surprising that Nevada has done it.

  4. Rincon says:

    Kind of like appointing an atheist to the priesthood. Luckily, the people of this nation have decided that they don’t like their rivers catching fire or their skies being gray from smog, nor will they stand for toxic waste being dumped indiscriminately. If Pruitt reduces or eliminates only the most egregious overreaches of the EPA, I will not find fault. As for his minority view regarding global warming, his boss is now waffling on the subject. If Trump dictates, Pruitt will obey. We will wait and see.

  5. deleted says:

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not only do the people of the country (unknowingly perhaps because of the power amassed in part because of their bribing members of the Supreme Court) condone the polluting of air, water, and land, they reward it and subsize it.

    The Koch industries are, the 2nd largest privately held businesses in this country, and are among the top 3 polluters of this country’s air, water, and land.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-koch-brothers-toxic-empire-20140924

  6. Rincon says:

    I have faith in our populace. Dial it back too far and guerrilla warfare will ensue. We had someone calling himself the Fox in Illinois during the 1960’s. He was never caught. Quite the hero. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/who-was-that-masked-man/Content?oid=907204

  7. deleted says:

    Nice story Rincon. I fear for our republic if stopping toxic waste from being tossed in our water, air, and land, is illegal, but this is now a Trumps Amerikkka and I think that is where we are headed

  8. Rincon says:

    It’s the billionaires’ Amerikka, not Trump’s, but with some luck, Trump may still throw them a curve or two. He’s so unpredictable and goes back on his word so often that nobody can know what he will do.

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