If there were any illusions that President-elect Donald Trump might be persuaded on climate change and clean energy after meeting with Al Gore at Trump Tower and appearing to soften his positions in an interview with New York Times reporters at the newspaper’s offices, those hopes have officially been quashed. Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency – and he’s an ally of the fossil fuel industry and a climate change denier. He has been a vocal critic of the EPA and President Obama’s climate change policies. As AG, Pruitt led the legal effort against the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature climate policy to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA

Since taking office in 2011, Pruitt has used his position to try to undermine the agency he could be in charge of (if confirmed by the Senate), boasting that he “led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda.” He has sued the EPA multiple times, fighting against air pollution standards, toxic pollutant regulations and rules to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas.

Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, EPA, Environmental Protection Agency

Related: What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good)

Writing in the conservative magazine National Review, Pruitt questioned “the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” adding that in the scientific community the “debate is far from settled.” Pruitt did not mention studies showing that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that humans are contributing to global warming.

Pruitt has close ties with the fossil fuel industry. Since 2002, he has received more than $300,000 in campaign contributions from oil, gas, mining and utility interests. In 2014, The New York Times uncovered a secretive alliance between attorneys general, including Pruitt, and dirty energy firms to attack EPA regulations on fracking and air pollution.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who sits on the Environment and Public Works Committee that must confirm Pruitt, slammed Trump’s pick to run the EPA. “At a time when climate change is the greatest environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA,” said Sanders. “The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.”

Via Huffington Post

Photos by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia, Flickr