Bernie Sanders' Statement On Scott Pruitt Points Out Why He Is A Terrible Choice To Head The EPA

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, and Bernie Sanders is making it clear that he is against that choice. The former Democratic presidential candidate released a statement Wednesday after news of the selection broke, saying he is "vigorously opposed" to Trump's "sad and dangerous" decision to put Pruitt in charge of the environmental agency.

Sanders also called attention to Pruitt's close ties to the fossil fuel industry, which The New York Times investigated extensively in 2014. As reported in the article, Pruitt has long put his energy into fighting any proposed environmental regulations on oil and gas companies, especially those in his home state. His reputation as a friend to fossil fuel companies may very well have been a big influence in the climate change-denying president-elect's choice to make him the next administrator of the EPA.

Sanders' statement read:

At a time when climate change is the great environmental threat to the entire planet, it is sad and dangerous that Mr. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Mr. Pruitt's record is not only that of being a climate change denier, but also someone who has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to make this country more dependent, not less, on fossil fuels. The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. I will vigorously oppose this nomination.

There's no way Sanders, who calls climate change "the single greatest threat facing our planet," was going to let this announcement go quietly. In recent weeks, Sanders has used his platform to speak out in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock and urge President Obama to stop the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (which Obama did earlier this week). Climate change is an issue that is near and dear to Sanders' heart. In addition to his recent advocacy, in the past he has proposed nationally banning hydraulic fracturing and has voted pro-environment 95 percent of the time over the course of his career according the the League of Conservation Voters.

Pruitt, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the environmentalism spectrum. Besides being a fossil fuel industry ally, currently Pruitt is involved in a lawsuit against the EPA, along with other state attorneys general, over the agency's Clean Power Plan.

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Although Sanders lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton earlier this year, it seems he is using that boost in exposure to remain vocal on not only environmental issues, but also prescription drug prices, automatic voter registration, the defense budget, and much more. It's clear that under Pruitt, who believes more evidence is needed to prove the extent to which climate change is caused by human action, the EPA will take a very different course than it has in recent years. But what's equally clear is that Sanders won't let the agency or its leader-to-be make any anti-environmentalist moves without a fight.