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Op-ed Placement

The Case for Scott Pruitt to Lead the EPA

Originally Published in Real Clear Energy on 1/6/17.

The mainstream media’s misrepresentation of Scott Pruitt as an unsophisticated crony of the powerful energy lobby couldn’t be farther from the truth. In nominating Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, President-elect Donald Trump has selected someone willing to defend the American people’s values, and the Senate should confirm him as soon as possible.

Here is how Pruitt will lead in accordance with American ideals:

Pruitt will defend separation of powers. As attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt has led the charge against the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a series of EPA regulations crafted by the Obama administration that attempt to reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants.

Only Congress has the power to enact such extensive changes. The EPA’s attempt to bypass the legislative branch is unconstitutional. As Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in FDA vs. Brown & Williamson: “No matter how important, conspicuous, and controversial the issue, and regardless of how likely the public is to hold the Executive Branch politically accountable, an administrative agency’s power to regulate in the public interest must always be grounded in a valid grant of authority from Congress.”

No such valid grant has been given. Pruitt and attorneys general of 27 other states have sued the EPA for overreaching its constitutional limits. They are supported by both conservative and liberal judges in condemnation of the regulations. Bush appointee Judge Brett Kavanagh referenced both O’Connor and Scalia opinions in his arguments against CPP. And even Lawrence Tribe, Obama’s law school mentor, thinks the plan is unconstitutional. Pruitt’s case is currently awaiting a decision in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Afterwards, it must sit before the Supreme Court before CPP can be enacted.