Summary: As the proceedings to ratify the remaining members of Trump's cabinet are still in discussion in the Senate. Discussions and interviews of Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency have caused friction among senate Democrats due to serval statements he made during the interviews and previous lawsuits he pursued as Oklahoma Attorney General, suing the EPA under the previous administration 14 times over regulatory issues concerning federal air and water regulations. Opponents of Mr. Pruitt have consistently said that he is working on behalf of his campaign donors and the energy industry instead of his constituents. Furthering his stance, Pruitt says that we as a nation need to get rid of the notion that being environmentally conscious is mutually exclusive from being economically beneficial and that the EPA should use its regulations to further this stance. In contrast to his preference that the Federal Government staying out of the states business, he believes that the EPA did not do its job in regards to the water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan.
My Analysis: As the hearing was televised and analyzed by many major news networks many senators like Sen. Whitehouse (D) of RI lead the investigation into the donors to Pruitt's campaigns and how it affected his political and legislative actions after his election. The primary concern by myself and many Americans is that Pruitt will weaken the EPA to the point that it is no longer functional and to disband/repeal laws and regulations that make energy production harder on large corporations in the energy sector like Murray Energy and Exxon Mobil. The EPA was created with the environmental protection in mind and the most dangerous precedent set my our current president during his campaign is that the environment and its protection are not a priority. With the increase of GHG's and other pollutants our environment is in a volatile and precarious state make it of the utmost importance for us to protect it to the best of our ability.
Charts depicting the flow of campaign donations to Scott Pruitt.
My "big" takeaway: Our environment in the this country and across the planet is at high risk. Now more than ever we need to take action to protect the invaluable natural resources so that it will viable for use in the foreseeable future. But at the same time we can't fully leave the economy to its own devices, jobs must be created to continue to expand and grow. The thin line is apparent in almost every policy bill or reform that crosses the Senate floor, but when in doubt we should favor the environment, it is an invaluable resource that cannot be abandoned no matter the economic gains that might sprout for such expenditures.
Major debate surrounds the ND Access Pipeline which poses a threat to the local water table.