In interviews, Trump's EPA pick questioned climate change, said Obama EPA rules would be undone

Who is Scott Pruitt?
Who is Scott Pruitt?

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Story highlights

  • "I believe that there's going to be significant regulatory change on day one," Pruitt said in a November interview.
  • Pruitt has consistently denied the scientific consensus on global warming.

(CNN)One day after Donald Trump declared victory in the 2016 presidential election, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt took to the airwaves on a local radio show titled "Exploring Energy."

In the interview, Pruitt, whom Trump has since chosen to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, said the new administration would undo environmental executive orders and regulations passed under President Obama.
"I believe that there's going to be significant regulatory change on day one," Pruitt said. "I think there'll be executive orders that will be issued that will undo many of the—President Obama's executive action in the energy space and healthcare space and finance area, banking."
In choosing Pruitt to head the EPA, Trump has sent a clear message that he intends to follow through on his campaign promise to cut back on environmental regulations that he and many Republicans have long argued harm businesses. A CNN KFile review of Pruitt's interviews and public statements reinforces an emerging image of him as a pick who will roll back Obama-era environmental regulations and oppose efforts to address climate change.
In the same interview on Nov. 10, Pruitt claimed the Trump administration would roll back EPA rules like the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States, saying, "There'll have to be rules proposed by the EPA to withdraw those, but that will happen, and there will be notice and comments that will be taken and then those rules with ultimately be withdrawn."
As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt has followed through on promises he made on the campaign trail when running for his office in 2010 to "make sure the EPA doesn't regulate carbon emissions outside of Congressional authority." He has led the fight against Obama administration EPA regulations including the Waters of the United States rule, Clean Power Plan, and methane regulations.
Speaking at a town hall in 2014, Pruitt said the best thing the government could do to create jobs would be to "make sure the EPA is not being onerous upon the energy companies in this country."
Pruitt has also vigorously defended the fossil fuels industry. In interviews, he has said the Obama administration was waging a "war on fossil fuels," said " that a target has been put on the fossil fuel industry" and the Obama administration was "trying to put fossil fuels out business."
The New York Times reported in 2014 that a letter that was sent by Pruitt to the EPA was nearly entirely written by Oklahoma-based company Devon Energy. Pruitt's office told the Times in response to the story that it was "the content of the request, not the source of the request that is relevant."
In an October interview with "Exploring Energy," Pruitt criticized those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline as "hyper-environmentalists" who are for "simply stopping all forms of fossil fuel energy."
On climate change policy, which the Obama administration has made a top priority in recent years, Pruitt has consistently denied the scientific consensus on global warming.
"There's a tremendous dispute, as you know, that's going on in the marketplace about how much this global warming trend that the administration talks about, if it's true or not," Pruitt said on a October 2016 episode of "Exploring Energy."
"Is it truly man-made and is this just simply another period of time where the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat? Is it just typical, natural type of occurrences as opposed what the administration says?"
He continued, "What people don't realize is that what the scientists have done is input data into a computer and produced modeling as far as the trajectory of what's going to occur. It's predictive in nature. It's speculative in nature. It's not objectively measured, as far as us knowing for sure what's going to occur. Look, I mean, I think there should be a vigorous debate about that. I mean, I think that ... We ought to have true science. We ought to let science be science and let it educate and inform the policy makers on what should and should not occur."
In an interview earlier in the year on the same show, Pruitt again framed climate change as a debate.
"Fundamentally, from my perspective, it's wrong at its core because the debate about climate change is truly that. It's debate," he said. "There are scientists that agree. There are scientists who don't agree to the extent of man's contribution, and what's even harmful at this point. We've had ebb and flow. We've had obviously, climate conditions change throughout our history. That's scientific fact. It gets cooler, it gets hotter. We don't know the trajectory, if it is on an unsustainable course. Nor do we know the extent by which the burning of fossil fuels, man's contribution to that, is making this far worse than it is. In fact, studies show in the last decade or so, that carbon emissions are actually down. The United States has done a tremendous amount of work to lower those carbon emissions."
In August 2015 appearance, discussing proposed climate change regulations, Pruitt expressed his belief that proposed regulations couldn't do anything to stop warming, but would hurt the U.S. economy. Pruitt said China and India committed far more pollution than the U.S.
"We care about economic growth. We balance it very, very well. China does not. India does not. This president is terribly naïve," he said. "This president believes that if he stands up and says, 'We want to punish ourselves,' the country, and force ourselves to do things that are not actually dictated by the statutes, and shrink our economy, that somehow China or India are going to wake up and say, 'Oh, look what the United States is doing. We're going to change what we're doing.' Well, that's never going to happen. In fact, they're laughing at us as we go through this process.
"I think it decreases the temperature by all of .0016 degree. It's not going to change anything with respect to our future. What it's going to do is kill our economy, and kill energy production in this country, and make us less than what we can and should be as a country. This president's world view doesn't fit the world," Pruitt concluded.