NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Donald van der Vaart didn’t get the phone call he had hoped for. But the United States — make that, the planet — had a worse day. President-elect Trump’s nominee for EPA chief is Scott Pruitt: attorney general of Oklahoma, fossil fuel enthusiast and climate change denier.
And as the Washington Post reports, Pruitt’s been tapped to lead the very agency he’s suing. Like van der Vaart, Pruitt sued the Obama Administration over the Clean Power Plan, which would sharply reduce carbon pollution by regulating fossil fuel plants. Pruitt has also maintained that the EPA overstated air pollution from fracking, essentially signing a letter written by a law firm representing oil and gas interests.
Three weeks ago van der Vaart sent a memo on state government letterhead to Trump that essentially served as a cover letter for a job interview. In the letter, van der Vaart told Trump that the EPA “has run out of control.”
Although Trump has chosen Pruitt for the top post, it’s possible that van der Vaart’s anti-regulatory proclivities could still land him a job farther down the organizational chart. Plus, if outgoing Gov. Pat McCrory is nominated as Energy Secretary — that’s the rumor — van der Vaart could find himself working for his old boss.