Earth Day, 2018
In his zeal to undo all the good that President Obama did for Mother Earth, Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to be his Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
For reasons which we, in our naïveté, fail to grasp, he was confirmed by the Senate on February 17, 2017. The vote was 52-46, mostly along partisan lines, but with Maine’s Susan Collins, a sensible Republican (there are only a few of them), voting no, and with Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) and Joe Mancin (West Virginia) voting yes. Both Heitkamp and Mancin are up for re-election.
After he completed law school at the University of Tulsa, Pruitt started a solo legal practice, in Tulsa, which he named “Christian Legal Services,” in which he focused on defending Christians in religious liberty cases.
After five years of practice, he ran for the State Senate representing Broken Arrow. He served two terms as a State Senator.
His representation of Broken Arrow coincides neatly with Oklahoma’s history. When Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson succeeded John Quincy Adams in 1829, he took it upon himself, In the “Trail of Tears," to remove thousands of Native Americans from the southeastern United States to the Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. Over the years, the government of these here United States broke hundreds of treaties with Native Americans.
A Southern Baptist, Pruitt told a radio interviewer in 2005 that there are "not sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution."
In 2010, he successfully ran for Attorney General of Oklahoma, and he was reelected in 2014.
Over the years, the oil and gas industry gave Pruitt more than $300,000 for his campaigns.
As Attorney General, he sued the EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and also the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule. He also sued the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities who were unwilling to take on the burdens of additional regulation of their coal-fired plants.
As of June 2014, all of his lawsuits against the EPA had failed.
Immediately on taking over at the EPA, Pruitt began taking apart all the EPA regulations which had been promulgated by President Obama’s EPA. That’s exactly what Trump wanted him to do.
Recently, Pruitt has committed numerous ethical lapses (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/20/pruitt-condo-lobbyist-leaving-firm-543508), but Trump has yet to deal with him as unceremoniously as he has with HHS Secretary Tom Price, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Rex Tillerson at State, Cary Cohn as the Director of his National Economic Council, and on and on. Why? Because Pruitt’s been very aggressively doing exactly what Trump wants.
It’s no secret in Washington that Pruitt wants Trump to nominate him to succeed Jeff Sessions when Sessions, after many battles with Trump, will either be fired or resign of his own accord to go back to Mobile.
And after he becomes Attorney General, we here at AP have absolutely no doubt that he’ll run for president after Trump completes his third term.
But associate solitary reporter Matt Christensen, who is based in Oklahoma City, has been following Pruitt’s career for many years. So Christensen called us earlier today to tell us that since Pruitt’s days at the EPA are numbered, he’ll have to go back to Oklahoma, where, no doubt, he’ll run for governor.
Christensen is as much of a sleuth as ASR Susanna Sherman. He tells us that when Pruitt runs for governor of Oklahoma, he’ll let it be known that since nobody outside the Sooner State likes Oklahoma, Pruitt will at least plant the seeds of a movement for Oklahoma to secede.
The reasons for Pruitt wanting to do that are simple: Oklahoma loves having earthquakes which have been associated with the state’s huge petroleum industry. As Christensen told Sherman, “The weather here isn’t favorable; the land is mostly flat; Republicans control everything; and it’s in the middle of the Bible Belt."
Christensen talked w 83-year old Sen. James Inhofe and Sen. James Lankford, as well as with Gov. Mary Fallin. All of them are very conservative Republicans, but Pruitt has them all beat. Inhofe is best known as a bigtime climate change denier. Fallin issued a proclamation in 2016, declaring October 13 to be Oilfield Prayer Day, calling upon Christians to “thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection."
When he was a State Senator, Pruitt opposed abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and the Affordable Care Act, and, of course, any regulation ever issued by the EPA.
Associate solitary reporter Melissa Smith inserted herself through an open window into Pruitt’s home in Washington, where she observed him meeting with Charles and David Koch.
“Tell you what,” Pruitt said. “The values of we Oklahomans are so different from the rest of the country — and we thrive on that. But eventually, we’re gonna have to secede.”
“When I get ready to do that,” Pruitt continued, “I’m definitely gonna need your Tea Party base.”
Associate solitary reporter Lewis Thompson asked Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a moderate Democrat who is likely either to challenge Colorado’s junior senator, Cory Gardner, in 2020, or to (possibly) run against Trump in 2020, what he thinks about the possibility of Oklahoma, which borders Colorado, seceding.
“Lewis, I would have to reserve judgment on that."
"But there are thousands of Coloradans who would love that."