Hollywood And Green Groups Get Tough On Trump For Picking Climate Change Skeptic To Head EPA

Friday December 9, 2016

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's pro-energy, anti-regulatory stance that has won him great favour with the oil, gas, coal, and other industries was advanced a major step further on Thursday with his selection of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

But no sooner was the selection of Pruitt, who opposes president Barack Obama's climate agenda, announced than the bastion of limousine environmentalists - Hollywood - swung into retaliatory action in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio visiting Trump in New York to lecture him on the importance of a green economy.

DiCaprio also presented him with a copy of his new climate change documentary, Before the Flood.

Meanwhile, environmental groups are urging their supporters to lobby the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to reject Pruitt prior to his confirmation hearing next Wednesday - although this is seen as an uphill battle, in part because the committee is to be headed by Republican John Barrasso.

Although billionaire hedge fund manager and climate activist Tom Steyer blamed Trump for continuing "to appoint people who are seriously unfit and unprepared for the jobs they need to do," resource industries as well as many scientists have long argued that the climate change issue has been overly hyped to the fiscal advantage of green groups and power hungry regulators - and to them, Pruitt is a welcome breath of reason.

Pruitt has also won favour from U.S. constitutionalists for joining 26 other attorneys in suing to block Obama's Clean Power Plan, on the grounds it "is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats' authority over states' energy economies, in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity," according to the attorney-general.

Still, EPA staff are said to be understandably nervous over the nomination, and Eric Schneiderman, attorney general of New York, promises to "use the full power of my office" to compel the EPA to uphold federal environment laws.

The mainstream press is also doing its part to discredit Pruitt, with The Guardian mocking him as having "spoken darkly of a `climate change agenda' that threatens the economy and even free speech" and lumping him together with other Republicans as questioning the "overwhelming" scientific evidence of man-made global warming.

It remains to be seen whether Pruitt will assume control of the EPA or - even more importantly - whether he will be successful in his bid to dismantle some of the more onerous regulations governing the resource industry; but on Thursday he made it clear he intended to do so by stating, "The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."

Throughout his election campaign, Trump slammed Obama for passing onerous regulations against the oil and gas sector and has repeatedly gone on record as calling man made climate change "a hoax."