Trump’s EPA Pick is Also a Longtime Agency Critic

December 8th, 2016 by Trey Barrineau

Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is also one of the agency’s fiercest critics.

Pruitt’s nomination, which was announced on Wednesday, could help Trump achieve one of his boldest campaign promises – the near-elimination of an agency whose rules affect many businesses, including those in the door and window industry.

“We are going to get rid of it (the EPA) in almost every form,” Trump said during the GOP debate in March 2016. “We’re going to have little tidbits left, but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

In the past, Pruitt has taken legal action against the agency he’s been picked to run. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, he has sued the EPA over its power plant regulations. He also took part in a case that claimed the agency has a cozy relationship with environmental groups.

“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn,” Trump said in a statement announcing Pruitt’s nomination. “As my EPA administrator … Pruitt … will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.”

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) says it hopes Pruitt can create a more favorable regulatory environment for the industry.

“We are looking forward to working with the new administrator once the confirmation process is complete,” said Kevin McKenney, WDMA’s director of government affairs. “We are optimistic that opportunities to address the regulatory burden currently facing manufacturers will emerge, and WDMA will continue to engage EPA on implementing common-sense solutions.”

WDMA has criticized the EPA in the past for ignoring the industry’s concerns regarding the Energy Star Version 6.0 specifications for doors, windows and skylights, which went into effect on January 1, 2015.

Another major focus for WDMA is amending the EPA’s controversial Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule.

The LRRP rule requires any renovation work and all door and window replacements that disturb more than six square feet of a pre-1978 home’s interior to follow rigorous and costly work practices. In July 2010, EPA removed the “opt-out provision” from the rule, which would let homeowners without children under six or pregnant women in the home to allow their contractor to forgo lead-safe work practices. By removing the opt-out provision, EPA more than doubled the number of homes subject to the LRRP Rule, and EPA has estimated that this amendment will add more than $336 million per year in compliance costs.

Ed Brady, chair of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., praised the selection of Pruitt.

“NAHB believes in environmental regulations that truly protect the environment,” Brady said in a statement. “However, the EPA has taken on an increasingly activist agenda during the Obama administration, often issuing regulations based on political considerations and failing to go through the proper rulemaking process, as illustrated by its ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule. Scott Pruitt will restore common sense to the regulatory process by ensuring that federal regulations are based on sound science, do not trample states’ rights and address the economic impact they will have on small businesses.”

Meanwhile, environmental groups expressed outrage over Pruitt’s nomination.

“Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires,” the Sierra Club said in a statement.

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