In Brookings, Rabe asks “What will Scott Pruitt do if he cannot sue EPA?”

December 14, 2016

While we know a great deal about President-elect Trump’s EPA nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Barry Rabe writes for the Brookings Institution that it is highly unclear "just what he will do in his role.” The article, titled “What will Scott Pruitt do if he cannot sue EPA?” is Rabe's most recent column in the institution's “FixGov” series.  

Unlike other attorney generals who “seek political visibility through aggressive policy engagement within their state,” Pruitt regularly focused his attention on the EPA, writes Rabe. “He has specialized in getting to the microphone quickly and launching litigative assault, whether the issue involved climate, water, or oil and gas development.” 

This tactic, according to Rabe, “has built him a broad following in the energy production industry and in conservative circles.” Pruitt, along with other state agencies, made Oklahoma the “most attractive government in the world to pursue oil and natural gas investment,” according to one report. Rabe cites as evidence Pruitt’s failure to address the link between fracking and earthquakes, despite a dramatic and undeniable increase in the number of quakes in Oklahoma in recent years.

In Washington, says Rabe, Pruitt “[w]ill have to confront issues that range from vehicle emissions standards to preventing oil spills and future Flints. There may be real limits to simply saying that state and local governments should do whatever they deem best.”

Barry Rabe is the J. Ira and Nikki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy at the Ford School, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.