Former employees of the US Environmental Protection Agency want the US Senate to reject President Trump’s pick to head the agency: Scott Pruitt, who is Oklahoma’s attorney general. 447 former workers said that he has sued the agency 14 times, indicating he can’t oversee the agency he so despises.
While the American business community has not taken a position on Pruitt, many companies want the US to remain involved in global climate initiatives and to pursue the carbon policies enacted under the Obama administration.
“Different administrators have come to different conclusions about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and many of their decisions have been challenged in court, sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far enough,” the former employees wrote in their letter, as noted in The Hill.
“But in the large majority of cases it is as evident to us that they put the public’s welfare ahead of private interests. Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same commitment,” the letter continues.
For his, Pruitt believes that the states are closer to the issues-at-hand than the federal government, especially with respect to environmental regulations. Pointing to EPA’s own data, his supporters say that since 1970, air pollution emissions have fallen by 70% while coal, natural gas and oil have expanded the economy, albeit under the guidance of the Clean Air Acts of 1970 and 1990.
“The federal government is not the end-all, be-all solution,” says a letter signed by 23 conservative advocacy groups that endorsed Pruitt. “Empowering states to take their own steps in addressing environmental concerns promotes responsiveness, the responsible use of taxpayer resources, and ensures that the people closest to the issues and with the most knowledge of what is needed are given the power to do just that.”
However, at least 35 countries, including the United States have increased their gross domestic product while also cutting their carbon dioxide output. To the end, the Brookings Institution says that the states will continue to lead the charge by requiring such things as renewable portfolio standards and building efficiency codes while the private sector kicks in and also does its part.
In Massachusetts, for example, more than a third of the state legislature there is supporting a measure to put a price on carbon.
Between 2000 and 2014, a Brookings Institution study reveals that at least 30 states have delinked their economic growth and carbon emissions — and they still expanded. The report says that 11 states —mainly in the Northeast—and the District of Columbia have all reduced their carbon emissions by more than 15% during the years 2000–2014. Collectively these states have cut their releases by 19% while expanding their GDP by a robust 22%, it adds.
At the same time, the national economy grew by 30% between 2000 and 2015 while emissions fell by 15%.
“In short, while decarbonization is not happening nearly fast enough in most states” the Brookings paper says, “as a final analysis here shows, state-level policy choices and economic trends have fostered solid momentum that in many places could proceed even without federal leadership.”
Furthermore, 365 businesses that include DuPont, General Mills and Schneider Electric signed a letter to President Trump asking him to stick with the nation’s current carbon policies, including the Paris accord and Clean Power Plan that seek to keep a lid on global temperature increases.