Get To Know Scott Pruitt, The Climate Denier Trump Wants To Lead The EPA

“Scott Pruitt would have EPA stand for Every Polluter’s Ally”

Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Image by Gage Skidmore (cc).

Scott Pruitt’s six-year tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma has been defined by his continuous legal assault on federal environmental and public health protections. Now he is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the very agency targeted in the majority of his lawsuits—the Environmental Protection Agency.

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]Science is the secular religion underlying everything the EPA does.[/quote]

On Wednesday, senators on the Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold Pruitt’s confirmation hearing. While most of Trump’s cabinet nominees have been criticized as unqualified or riddled with conflicts of interest, Pruitt is arguably the most egregious of all. His hostile stance toward the role of the EPA is truly without precedent for a candidate set to lead the agency, according to a lifelong Republican who once led the organization.

“There has never been a more explicit and opposing interpretation of the authority and responsibility of EPA by an EPA nominee,” William K. Reilly, who was head of the EPA under President George H.W. Bush, told Yale Environment 360. “For a prospective EPA administrator to doubt or even contest a conclusion that 11 national academies of science have embraced is willful political obstruction.”

Over the course of his hearing, Pruitt will almost certainly be asked to speak to his strategic attacks on clean air and water rules, as well as to his close professional and financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. I’ve mapped these ties in the DeSmog project below, with a focus on the fossil fuel companies that have supported Pruitt through political action committees (PACs and super PACS) and organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Republican Attorneys General Association—where Pruitt served as chairman.

If you’re looking to dive into how Pruitt used ALEC, RAGA, and his Rule of Law Defense Fund to funnel funds from coal, oil, and gas companies, click through the map. Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, summarized these longstanding, deeply knotted ties to the fossil fuel industry when he warned that “Scott Pruitt would have EPA stand for Every Polluter’s Ally.”

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations.[/quote]

While Pruitt served as the state’s attorney general, hydrofracking turned Oklahoma into a land of perpetual manmade earthquakes, including the largest in human history. Pruitt also led an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” of Republican state attorneys general and large energy companies to attack clean air rules—an arrangement that led to, as The New York Times reported, his office sending a letter written by an oil and gas company (under his own name) to challenge EPA’s science-based analysis of the oil and gas pollution levels in communities around fracking operations.

Meanwhile, Pruitt’s time as chair of RAGA, during which he launched the Rule of Law Defense Fund, ought to demand close scrutiny in his confirmation hearing. Last Thursday, nine Democrats that sit on the panel that will oversea Pruitt’s confirmation hearing sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, requesting more background on Pruitt’s dealings with RAGA and his coordinated efforts to undermine the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

“During his tenure as attorney general of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations he will regulate if confirmed to lead EPA,” the letter said. “Public reporting based on documents produced by Freedom of Information Act requests illustrate how Mr. Pruitt and members of his staff have worked closely with fossil fuel lobbyists to craft his office's official positions.”

Just this week, EDF Action, the political arm of the historically moderate Environmental Defense Fund, released some new research revealing that in all but one lawsuit that Pruitt filed as attorney general, a co-litigator was a company that also contributed to Pruitt’s campaign or a PAC affiliated with Pruitt. The Environmental Defense Fund, which has never opposed an EPA nominee from either party in its 50-year history, stated that “Mr. Pruitt’s record and principles are so dangerous we are strongly opposing his confirmation.”

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]For a prospective EPA leader to doubt a conclusion that 11 national academies of science have embraced is willful political obstruction.[/quote]

Throughout Pruitt’s legal career, he has continually put the interests of his fossil fuel allies ahead of the public, consistently dismissing scientific analysis. He is an outspoken denier of climate science, and he has repeatedly sided with industry over the scientifically proven threats of air and water pollution to Oklahoman communities.

As Reilly put it, “Science is the secular religion underlying everything the EPA does, and one who cannot rely on it, or is determinedly contemptuous of it, cannot effectively lead the agency or serve as the country's environmental conscience.”

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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