Donald Trump has signalled his intent to undo Barack Obama’s efforts to curb climate change by choosing as his chief environmental regulator a conservative state law enforcer who is battling to overturn the president’s legacy.
Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney-general, has been selected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, as the president-elect turns to a man who, like himself, has questioned the science of climate change, the Trump team said.
If confirmed by the Senate he would be catapulted from the US’s oil-producing heartland to the centre of global policymaking on climate change, a position from which green groups worry he would wreck progress to stem carbon emissions.
Mr Pruitt, 48, has railed against the EPA for meddling in state affairs and played a leading role in a lawsuit that has frozen the centrepiece of Mr Obama’s climate policy pending a court judgment.
His nomination sparked a fierce reaction from the left. Senator Jeff Merkley said he would turn the EPA into the “Polluter Protection Agency” and Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney-general, called him a “dangerous and unqualified choice”.