Despite protest from Democrats, and even from Environmental Protection Agency workers themselves, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Scott Pruitt to run the EPA on Feb. 17. The pick was controversial because Pruitt himself is an opponent of the EPA who has even sued the organization. Here’s what you need to know about Pruitt.
1. He’s served as head of the Republican Attorneys General Association.
Pruitt has been the attorney general of Oklahoma since 2010 and, during that time, he’s served two terms as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association. His work with that group alone is enough to raise eyebrows from environmental advocates, since the association relies on funding from the oil industry and conservative groups.
2. Before serving as attorney general, he was a member of the Oklahoma state legislature.
In 1998, Pruitt was elected to the Oklahoma state Senate, where he went on to spend eight years serving in the legislature. While in the state Senate, he moved to prominence in the party, serving as Republican whip from 2001 to 2003 and assistant Republican floor leader from 2003 to 2006.
3. He ran, unsuccessfully, for other offices in Oklahoma before becoming attorney general.
In 2001, Pruitt ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives during a special election but lost the bid. Then, in 2006, he ran for lieutenant governor but failed to get past the Republican primary.
4. He’s a climate change skeptic.
In May, Pruitt wrote a piece about climate change for the National Review, which many environmentalists found troubling. “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote. “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.”
5. He believes the EPA currently oversteps its bounds.