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Last week, President-elect Trump tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, Pruitt has sued the EPA, so it’s understandable that a quick analysis of the situation has left many people wary of this cabinet pick. Nonetheless, a closer investigation reveals that Pruitt is one of Trump’s best cabinet picks yet.
The EPA has not been the only target to come within Pruitt’s iron sights. He has taken on the federal government, the Obama Administration, and the IRS as well. In fact, his career has been defined by his willingness to confront a federal government which exceeds its bounds and casts American workers and consumers into a bottomless pit of regulations.
Of all the agencies that need to be reined in, the EPA is one of the more urgent cases. Founded in 1970, the EPA is relatively young but has already become one of the most burdensome agencies. In recent days, the EPA has lost cases in court and even turned the Animas River orange in a completely preventable incident where acid mine waste contaminated the water.
The regulations the EPA places on American businesses means that companies are made to comply with esoteric, ever-changing law. To stay afloat, companies need to spend money on lawyers who can help them navigate through the thicket of regulations. Combine this with a corporate tax and it becomes clear that America is not the most compelling place to have a flourishing business.
Confronted with this fact, American businesses have a choice. They can stay and hemorrhage money in order to stay abreast of the regulations; productivity will decrease as workers will be laid off so lawyers can be afforded. Or they can take the more rational approach and relocate their operations to other countries with little to no regulations of this sort. This latter approach will likely entail a net global increase of carbon emissions, something which would not please many defenders of the EPA in its present state.
President-elect Trump’s victory was in no small part due to his consistent campaign promise to bring an era of prosperity to the American energy industry. Time and time again, the EPA has proven a roadblock to this mission.
Environmental issues have constantly been used as justification for more taxes and more regulations. Getting even one semi-qualified individual to advocate for something because it is “good for the environment” is often used as an excuse to write a blank check. And many well-qualified professionals told us that Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency. Let’s not forget that experts are subject to human error too.
Scott Pruitt has established himself as a bold and principled conservative, unable to rest easy while the separation of powers is violated and legislative authority is taken away from the hands of Congress. He has a unique understanding of the unconstitutional regulatory branch and he would surely be pleased to see an environmental policy that works not only for the environment of the natural world, but also the environment of the American worker and consumer.
Voters sent a loud message to Washington: Americans want change. The status quo is not working and America can do better. Regulatory overreach has become the status quo and has proven to have negative effects on Americans of every state and every class. A country that respects the rule of law needs a law that is clear, realistic, and stable.
With Pruitt at the helm, the EPA will be streamlined, legislative authority will be restored to Congress, and America will once more become welcoming to entrepreneurs.
Other picks may have continued down the path the EPA has been pursuing, creating a veritable jungle of regulations and thus disincentivizing innovation. Pruitt is not afraid to point out a mess when he sees one.
There is pollution in Washington. Pruitt saw this long ago. As head of the EPA, he can clear up the hot air and make America an easier place to breathe. Only when this political pollution is dealt with, can we have a clear line of sight and develop a sensible environmental policy that works for all Americans. Environmentalists, take heart! Only one swamp needs to be drained.