Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney, fossil industry proxy, and climate denier who has spent much of the last year dismantling half a century of environmental protection for American citizens, is reported to have set his sights on the country’s justice system—and perhaps its highest political office.
As administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Pruitt has worked energetically to abandon environmental regulation on behalf of fossils and other polluting industries (although he has attracted some mockery for his embrace of security—including a force of bodyguards and a ‘cone of silence’ device for his office).
Pruitt has questioned the human role in climate change and taken advice almost exclusively from industry and climate deniers, while sidelining environmental and climate voices even among his own agency staff. He sought (unsuccessfully) to repeal rules to contain methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure, and is still trying to unravel the Clean Power Plan—the centrepiece of President Barack Obama’s effort to rein in American greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the retirement of coal-fired power generation.
But several Washington observers have speculated that Pruitt, who turns 50 this May, views his demolition spree at the EPA as merely a springboard to greater things.
“Pruitt has developed a reputation in Washington as one of the most ambitious members of Trump’s cabinet,” Politico reports, “and people close to him have long suspected that he harbours bigger aspirations in politics.
“With rumors swirling that [U.S. Attorney General] Jeff Sessions could depart the administration and two members of the House Freedom Caucus calling on the former Alabama senator to resign, Pruitt is quietly positioning himself as a possible candidate for the job,” the Washington, DC-focused political paper adds.
Nor may that be the limit of the fossil-loving politician’s ambitions. “Two people close to him also said he has toyed with the possibility of running for president someday,” Politico writes.
Pruitt was a state senator and then attorney general in Oklahoma before joining Trump’s cabinet in February. and opposes abortion and same-sex marriage as well as Obama’s other signature legacy, the U.S. Affordable Care Act.