US President-elect Trump nominates Scott Pruitt to lead EPA

By Erin Voegele and Ron Kotrba | December 07, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as EPA administrator. His nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Pruitt has served as attorney general of Oklahoma since November 2010. Prior to his election as attorney general, Pruitt served eight years in the Oklahoma senate. His biography posted to the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General website states he is a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

Pruitt has been vilified by the environmental community for being a climate change denier and fighting implementation of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In response to Pruitt’s nomination, Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, stated Pruitt regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA regulations. Brune urged senators to oppose his nomination.

While Pruitt has been criticized for his views on climate change, representatives of the bioenergy industry noted they look forward to working with him to expand the production of biofuels and bioenergy in the U.S.

“During Scott Pruitt's time in the Oklahoma legislature, he supported the development of alternative energy sources, including biomass,” said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. “We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt on sensible climate regulations that promote the growth of abundant domestic energy sources like biomass power.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “We congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his nomination and look forward to working with him to carry out President-elect Trump’s strong commitments to protecting the renewable fuel standard (RFS) and ending restrictions to getting more ethanol into our fuel supply. America’s ethanol industry worked hard to help bring President-elect Trump to the White House and continues to support his dedication to ensuring home-grown domestic energy security.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol noted Pruitt’s record is of concern, but cautioned against overreacting. “We are disappointed that, as the Oklahoma Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt opposed EPA’s approval of E15 and criticized the RFS,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “While his record is cause for concern, there are a few reasons not to overreact ...  First, Mr. Pruitt’s boss will be President Trump, who promised to strongly support the RFS during his campaign. Second, as part of the confirmation process, we expect several senators of both parties to forcefully educate Mr. Pruitt about the importance of ethanol to the rural states they represent. Third, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Pruitt will be bound to carry out the law of the land, meaning EPA must continue implementing the RFS. Hopefully we can work with EPA to also provide regulatory relief in the form of Reid vapor pressure (RVP) fairness for E15.”

At the time of publication, Biodiesel Magazine awaited comment from the National Biodiesel Board on Pruitt’s nomination.



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