New EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Is Balking at Trump’s Big Budget Cuts

By Eric Pianin, via Yahoo Finance.

It was no surprise that former Environmental Protection Agency director Gina McCarthy reacted with shock and outrage to reports that the Trump administration budget office had proposed slashing her former agency’s budget by 25 per cent, jettisoning scores of vital environmental quality programs and climate change research in the process.

“I think people have to realize that this budget proposal that is being put on the table would take staffing levels at EPA down to where they were 40 years ago,” she said Wednesday on MSNBC. “This is really not about [Trump administration disagreement] on climate anymore. This is an attack on the agency.”

As state attorney general, Pruitt was closely aligned with the oil and gas industry and sued the EPA at least 14 times in recent years, challenging the agencies legal authority to regulate mercury pollution, smog and carbon emissions. A cache of 6,000 emails released last week as part of a law suit in Oklahoma showed that Pruitt carefully coordinated his efforts to thwart the Obama administration’s climate change initiatives with high level energy and utility company officials. In some cases, industry lawyers drafted letters for him to send to federal regulators.

Pruitt said during his Senate confirmation hearings that he did not believe climate change was a "hoax,” as Trump once insisted. However, he did argue that climate change needed more study and more debate, despite the huge body of existing research linking greenhouse gas emissions to global warming and rising sea levels.