Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirmed as US EPA Administrator

Published 23 February 2017 by Jon Womersley FEIANZ CEnvP

The US EPA is not only the national environmental regulator for the United States but is an internationally important organisation in the fields of environmental research, environmental policy and environmental standards.  What it does and the direction that it takes impacts on environmental management around the globe.  The person who leads the organisation has a significant influence in that direction, just as Ministers do in Australian and New Zealand governments.

Here is a short piece about former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt who has been confirmed by the US Congress as the fourteenth Administrator of the US EPA in President Trump’s administration:

Administrator Pruitt believes promoting and protecting a strong and healthy environment is one of the lifeblood priorities of the government, and EPA is a vital part of that mission.

As Administrator, Mr Pruitt will lead EPA in a way that our future generations inherit a better and healthier environment while advancing America’s economic interests.  He is committed to working with the thousands of dedicated public servants at EPA who have devoted their careers to helping realise this shared vision, while faithfully administering environmental laws.

Administrator Pruitt recently addressed EPA staff to lay out a vision for the agency.  In forecasting his leadership approach, Mr Pruitt said “I seek to listen, learn, and lead with you to address the issues we face as a nation.  You can’t lead unless you listen.  Civility is something I believe in very much.  We ought to be able to get together and wrestle through some very difficult issues and do so in a civil manner.”

Administrator Pruitt also addressed how protecting the environment and growing the economy can go hand in hand."

Source: EPA Office of Water. (2017). Introducing Administrator Pruitt.[email].

A quick search of the web will reveal that Mr Pruitt is a controversial figure in the environmental space.  As Oklahoma Attorney General he prosecuted cases against the US EPA in defence of the oil and gas industries in that state.  He is widely known for his sceptical views about climate science.  It will be interesting to watch not only the impact of his administration on the direction of the US EPA, but the impact that direct exposure to the work of the highly respected staff of the US EPA has on his thinking.  He would not be the first person to have an epiphany when faced with the realities of international public administration.