Scott Pruitt Won’t Bring Back Coal, Just Poison the Environment

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Newly-confirmed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt clearly stated on Friday that he intends to roll back the Obama administration's clean power plan that regulated emissions from old, dirty power plants

Pruitt filed many lawsuits against the EPA under Obama on behalf of the fossil fuel industry while he was the attorney general of Oklahoma, so we know what his true motives are, but his stated motive should be hilarious to anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention.

Pruitt told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that he expects to quickly withdraw both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States Rule, the Obama administration’s attempt at clarifying the EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.

There’s a very simple reason why this needs to happen: Because the courts have seriously called into question the legality of those rules,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt was among the group of state attorneys general who sued the Obama administration in an effort to block the Clean Power Plan, but they more or less defeated themselves.

You may recall that the court ruled against Pruitt and the others because they filed a lawsuit to stop a regulatory regime that wasn't even drafted or implemented yet. A new lawsuit filed after the regulations were actually finalized is currently lingering in court.

To heighten the absurdity of their dubious legal challenges and Pruitt's recent statements, the energy industry in many states including those who participated in lawsuits against the Obama administration have already moved forward toward a cleaner future because it's in their own best economic interest to do so.

Killing the Clean Power Plan won't resurrect the coal industry or create jobs, it will simply extend the already-ancient lifespan of existing coal-fired plants that will no longer have to comply with new federal regulations. It will further endanger the lives and well-being of people who live near dirty power plants while providing no economic benefit to them.

This will benefit the bottom line of fossil fuel companies, no one else. If they're not required to renovate dirty plants, the savings will not be passed on to employees, customers, or state coffers; it will pad the company's books.

  • Draxiar

    Because sure, let’s see how much more we can fuck up the environment with antiquated technology.

    • ninjaf

      This is what is so frustrating to me. The rest of the world is choosing renewables and starting to lead on that. And our so called “business genius” of a president can’t see the market that is being created and we are being left out of because a small minority of the population don’t want to be re-educated for the new reality. Instead, they want to literally stay where they are and not do a damn thing to better their circumstances because this is “what they have always known.” Well, I’m sorry. But you are not entitled to a job in a dying industry. No jobs where you are living now? Pull yourself up by those bootstraps the party of personal responsibility are so fond of and go where the jobs are.

      • Draxiar

        Here’s the thing, I understand the frustration of their jobs being phased out and the uncertainty that comes with that. Sure, coal mining is one of the worst jobs but it’s still a job and helps pay bills. I think it would be a great thing to see the government help these workers transition into learning new trades-specifically renewable energy- with a variety of incentives. They have to know though, that coal jobs are never coming back because the demand is dying (ask any horse and buggy operator). Countless numbers of jobs have been phased out as the technology moves on…how people adapt to it will help or hinder their survival.

        • ninjaf

          But that’s just it. Clinton campaigned on doing just that and they voted overwhelmingly for the guy who promised them a job without any effort. They deliberately chose not to help themselves be future proof.

          • Draxiar

            I agree completely. What those workers heard on endless loop was her statement that was taken out of context.


            So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?

            And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

            Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.

            What they heard and was played: “…we’re going to put al lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?”

            trump merely told them what they wanted to hear with no real plan to do much about it. They took false comfort from that and voted him. I wonder how they’ll see it 2 years from now.

          • ninjaf

            This is where HRC’s campaign has to take responsibility for not countering that with television and radio commercials of the full context.

  • muselet

    I’m some years older than Scott Pruitt, and I wonder if maybe he’s not a terribly stupid man who’s perfectly comfortable in the pocket of the resource-extraction industry. Maybe he’s just a callow young solipsist who doesn’t remember the peculiar pong of smoggy air, or that the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, or the effects of acid rain on forests and waterways, and because he doesn’t remember any of those things, they aren’t actually real.

    If I had to choose, I’d choose both of the above.


  • Aynwrong

    This will harm Trump’s voters directly and they have no one to blame but themselves. The air they breathe, the water they drink, their healthcare costs (to say nothing of the healthcare they will need because of this) and the health of their own children. Now subjected to the absolute worst predations of the free market.

    • Christopher Foxx

      They voted to harm people because those people are outside their perceived tribe. That’s impossible to respect and even less possible to forgive.

      This is why I find I have no sympathy toward them. Despite my typical liberal’s natural tendency to feel sympathy toward those in need, I’m finding in have none for these people. Zip. Nada. Bupkis.

      For those taken in decades of Republican lies, I have a small amount of sympathy. As one does for idiots who don’t know better. But for those who supported and voted for Trump because he promised to harm other people (people his hate-filled supporters are about to find out is actually themselves) I have no sympathy for.

    • Badgerite

      In a lot of ways, the situation of the United States right now reminds me of the antebellum south. There was an elite white power structure of rich whites who basically kept in place a plantation economy that benefited mostly themselves. Most white southerners were kept poor by this system.
      As the US expanded and territories entered the Union as free states, they saw the political structure that had protected their power being eroded. And as now, their response was panic and the suppression of any democratic principle that threatened their own power structure. The white people of the working class have not been “forgotten” by this power structure. They have been intentionally and knowingly marginalized by them for the political purpose of maintaining their power structure. And they will continue to do this until and unless these people understand what is being done to them and why.
      And actually care more about that than about hating their fellow citizens and wanting to see them get a “sad”.

      • Christopher Foxx

        And actually care more about that than about hating their fellow citizens

        Aye, there’s the rub.

      • Excellent comparison and quite true.

        • Badgerite

          Unfortunately so.