Scott Pruitt, the Republican Attorney General from Kansas, will be nominated to serve as the Environmental Protection Agency Secretary for the Trump administration.
The relationship between rural America and the EPA has been tense the past few years. First, there was WOTUS. The rule would bring ditches and mud puddles under the authority of the Clean Water Act and the EPA’s regulatory authority. Despite a very vocal reaction from the agriculture community, the EPA wasn’t interested in listening and plowed ahead with adopting the rule. Fortunately, it was temporarily halted by a federal court, and it was discovered the the EPA violated federal law in passing the regulation.
Once WOTUS got stopped, the EPA decided to implement the Chesapeake Bay Plan under executive order. When all was said and done, the Agency would essentially have the authority to regulate local land zoning laws.
Let’s also not forget the EPA’s financial assistance to the organization that put up a bunch of anti-agriculture billboards in Washington. Turns out, and the EPA even admitted, that the money should not have gone for such an endeavor….You think?
And that was in just the last year or so.
On the other hand, Scott Pruitt has been championing agricultural causes. He issued a consumer alert to warn folks that the Humane Society of the United States is not related to local pet shelters and is more akin to an animal rights group. He tried to get the group’s non-profit status removed, meaning they would have to pay taxes on all those donations that they use to attack family farmers. Pruitt also filed a lawsuit against the EPA based on the WOTUS rule. He understood why California’s egg law was unconstitutional and joined in a lawsuit against it.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said in a statement:
President-elect Trump’s selection of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is welcome news to America’s farmers and ranchers—in fact, to all who are threatened by EPA’s regulatory overreach—and should help provide a new degree of fairness for U.S. agriculture. We know that in his position as attorney general in Oklahoma, Pruitt has stood up for common-sense, effective regulation that protects the environment and the rights of the regulated community. We have been grateful for his effective legal work in response to EPA’s overreaching Waters of the U.S. Rule.
In short, it will be refreshing to have someone that values agriculture, instead of wanting to run us over, at the helm of the EPA.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t know every single position Pruitt holds and I probably do not agree with him on every single issue. For example, I realize some people will be very concerned about Pruitt’s stance on climate change. While I prefer private sector and economic-friendly solutions over heavy-handed government, the public can challenge him on those differences and concerns when the time comes. We will never agree with any nominee about everything, nor will someone be perfect. Everyone, including farmers, should stay vigilant in holding our elected officials accountable and paying attention to what they’re doing.
But from what I have seen from Pruitt based on my coverage of agricultural issues over the last few years, I’m a fan.
Now, let’s see what he does.