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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Columns

President Trump’s nominee for the EPA should not be in charge


President Trump’s cabinet picks are stepping into the public.

They, just like their appointer, were met with a slew of disapproval. In the case of Trump’s EPA pick, the criticism is justified. The one that stood out the most was Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency secretary pick, Scott Pruitt.

Pruitt is a lawyer and politician from the state of Oklahoma. Based on the prerequisites for being Attorney General of Oklahoma, you would think he would have substantial knowledge and heart for the state. With him being in this position, you would think that he would have some history in this realm. Pruitt’s résumé does not have any former positions or even interests in environmental protection.

Oklahoma recently had a 3.1 magnitude earthquake. Although this was low on the Richter scale, these quakes still cause damage. This creates trouble for Oklahoma’s rural standard of living.

Oklahoma is one of the leading sources of livestock. Oklahoma’s most valuable crop is wheat, and they also rank second in the country in producing hay and cotton. Quake damages to crop yields and livestock would have a drastic impact on Oklahoma’s rural economy. Not only due to the monetary loss, but because the time sensitive nature of agriculture.

Earthquakes are not common in Oklahoma, even with a 15,000-year-old fault line sitting on the Wichita Mountains. From 1974 – 2003, Oklahoma only had 17 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.5 or greater. According to a 2014 National Geographic article, Oklahoma experienced 258 earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater in August.

This ongoing issue in the state was initially blamed on fracking – the injection of high pressured liquid into subterranean rocks and minerals creating a hole to extract oil and gas. However, that’s not the complete story. The more precise reason for the rise in earthquakes is due to the poor disposal methods from the waste that fracking creates.

Pruitt has been particularly silent on this issue. Fracking is a direct deterioration on the environment, especially the environment of his home. His silence is probably from his history and his conflict of interest with the EPA. In the past, he has sued the EPA in opposition for their Clean Power Plan, which combats global warming.

It seems that Pruitt is at a crossroads with his ideologies, position and subjective tendencies with his constituents. He’s a part of a group that vocally denies the fact-based case for global warming.

Republicans are strong proponents for things like fossil fuels and oil and gas and will go to extreme measures to obtain them as opposed to looking into renewable resources. Pruitt has now been nominated to this cabinet position, whose entire mission is to sustain the environment.

With his tug of war between his affiliations, the EPA may become weakened. His fellow Oklahomans are looking to him for action. What kind of leader and representative leaves the people they serve out to dry?

Then again, how does one perform a job adequately without the proper qualifications?

Opinion columnist Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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