The Environmental Protection Agency has a new face at its helm. On Friday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed by Senate to lead the agency responsible for the environment and protecting it. Global warming is one of the major issues the United States faces — and something President Donald Trump has criticized in the past. But does Scott Pruitt deny global warming? Not quite. Like all things pertaining to the Trump administration, his views are a little complicated.
Pruitt was sworn into office on Friday, despite attempts from Democrats to derail his confirmation, according to the BBC. Pruitt had come under fire earlier in the week from an Oklahoma judge, demanding Pruitt release emails he had exchanged with oil and gas executives. But regardless of this, Pruitt was approved by Senate, 52 to 46. According to the BBC, Pruitt's appointment is a bit unusual, due to the fact that he has "spent years fighting" the EPA, which he just so happens to now lead. According to CNN, as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times in pursuit of "dangerous activism under the Obama administration" and has vowed to limit the EPA once he took office. Because Pruitt has had his differences with the EPA in the past, what does he think of global warming?
During his Senate hearing, Pruitt acknowledged global warming as a reality (unlike our president) but does not necessarily believe (or understand) how humans can contribute to it, according to TIME. According to TIME, Pruitt said "the climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner. I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of the human's impact on the client is subject to more debate." If you go by this quote, then you're lead to believe that Pruitt encourages discourse and discussion about this very real issue. However, given Pruitt's track record with the EPA, it is hard to determine whether or not he'll actually listen to others about it — and according to TIME, Pruitt's views still remain inconsistent with a majority of climate scientists. And in spite of his answer given during his hearing, Salon calls Pruitt "essentially a climate change denier." According to NPR, Pruitt at the helm of the EPA will take it in a "drastically new direction."
Pruitt's appointment will bring about a few changes to environmental policy. According to The New York Times, Trump will sign "one or more" executive orders aimed at undoing Obama's environmental policies — and replacing them with "industry friendly" rules. In comparison, former President Obama acknowledged global warming multiple times and begged legislators to act on protection before it was too late. Although Pruitt has acknowledged global warming, the undoing of certain policies will definitely make a statement on how Pruitt will approach global climate change for the next four years.
Pruitt's acknowledgement of global warming is barely a good sign. Due to his history with the EPA, and Trump's adamancy to undo Obama's policies with climate change, it doesn't seem as if Pruitt's acknowledgment will do any good for the future of the United States and our environmental impact.