The Trump administration’s move to shut down a key federal agency Tuesday means the Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt, will not be able to work with the Obama administration on climate change.
The Trump EPA will not issue its first order implementing the Paris Agreement on climate or other climate-related policy until mid-November, Pruitt’s office said.
The EPA will also not issue a new rule until after the midterm elections, and the agency will be required to submit a new plan to Congress to comply with the Paris agreement before it can do so, Pruitt said in a statement.
Pruitt said he was “confident that we will implement the Paris deal and protect the environment.”
But Pruitt said that it would be premature to consider whether the EPA should be reorganized.
“The President’s decision to move the EPA out of the Department of Energy is premature and ill-advised,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt was sworn in to his post as administrator in January.
He took office in late March.
The Senate has not yet confirmed Pruitt to be EPA administrator.
He was confirmed by the House of Representatives in February.
The White House has said it intends to nominate Pruitt to run the EPA in an effort to help the agency deal with the fallout from the Paris climate agreement.
“Pruitt is one of the most qualified and experienced EPA administrators in the country and will be a great asset to the President and Congress in the months ahead,” the White House said in Pruitt’s nomination statement.
Trump announced the decision in a tweet that said Pruitt will “work hard to enforce the Paris Accord and protect our environment,” and that Pruitt will have a “long, distinguished career at the EPA.”
“Scott Pruitt has a long, distinguished record of working to make the U.S. a leader in environmental protection,” Trump said.
“He is also the highest-ranking administrator to lead the agency since the inception of the EPA, and he has been a strong advocate for the environment and American workers.”
The Senate confirmed Pruitt as EPA administrator by a 51-49 vote Tuesday afternoon.
The vote came after a nearly two-hour filibuster, during which Democrats and Republicans criticized Pruitt’s climate change policies and questioned whether he would actually lead the EPA.
Pruitt has also faced criticism from environmentalists over his ties to fossil fuel interests.
He said during his confirmation hearing in February that the Environmental Defense Fund has “been very supportive” of his nomination.
Pruitt is also a strong supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline, and his administration has been reviewing whether the pipeline can be built under existing permits.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has been controversial since it was first proposed in 2015, when a pipeline builder sued the Obama EPA over the environmental impact of building the pipeline.
But the Trump EPA has yet to rule on whether the project should go forward.
Trump’s EPA, the first in the nation, has been accused of being too slow to enact climate change policy.
In February, Pruitt announced the end of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, a rule that aimed to curb carbon emissions from power plants.
The rule was a key step toward addressing climate change because it required states to set limits on carbon emissions and other pollutants.
Pruitt’s move Tuesday comes at a time when the Trump Administration is considering whether to lift Obama-era regulations that had put the country on track to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Trump in February called the Obama rule “a disaster.”
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.K., March 14, 2021.
Pruitt testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Wednesday.
Pruitt, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump in March, was confirmed to lead Trump’s administration in January, shortly after Trump won the election.
His confirmation was delayed twice by Democrats.
But he was confirmed after the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress.
Pruitt joined Trump’s campaign team as a senior adviser and then served as an adviser to the Trump Organization in March and early April, and then as a member of the Trump transition team in late February.
He is also president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a lobbying group for the oil and gas industry.
Pruitt worked as a Republican consultant during the 2016 election.
In addition to his job at the Trump campaign, Pruitt worked on Trump’s transition team, where he advised the President on economic policy.