When President Trump selected Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), his intent was to weaken the agency's powers of regulating wealthy fossil fuel industries. The reasons to believe this was the case are because Trump has vowed to roll back two regulations for each one put in place and because Scott Pruitt had single-handedly sued the EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general 13 times in the past.

President Trump has shown a clear pattern of dismantling other government agencies by selecting people to lead them who have shown themselves to be against the agencies they now lead. Selecting Scott Pruitt was no exception.

Earlier in the year, President Trump signed executive orders that gave Pruitt the power to rewrite the data on Climate Science and over the months, Pruitt has changed climate change information on the EPA website and purged the advisory board of scientists who were already in place to advise the EPA on climate science.

Getting around peer-reviewed science

The administrator made no secret that he wanted to replace those vacancies with people who represented the "heavily-regulated" fossil fuel industry and now, according to E&E's climate wire article: "Pruitt will launch program to 'critique' climate science", Pruitt is doing as predicted and has begun the formal process of changing climate science as the EPA sees it and under his terms. According to reporter Emily Holden and writer of the piece, Pruitt will have a "red" team that will look at vulnerabilities and uncertainties in the reporting and the "blue" team will be creating reports and defending them.

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This essentially goes against the standards of peer-reviewed science that normally ends up getting published in scientific journals.

Generally, the process required that the data the EPA received was scrutinized by the scientific community in order to ensure accuracy but with changes to that scientific community, Pruitt will be able to steer the direction of climate science. Holden said she was able to learn about this by speaking with the CEO of Murray Energy who owns one of the U.S.'s biggest coal companies. He told her that he had met with Pruitt that morning where he asked about how the director was going to challenge the EPA's initial basis for greenhouse gas regulations against his company.

Scott Pruitt challenged by consensus

It was then that Pruitt reportedly told him about their new process. Holden also said in the article that a senior administration official had also confirmed this. The process will be more of a back and forth critique among "experts" that are recruited by Trump's government.

Holden's article also refers to what is called the 2009 Endangerment Finding which Pruitt said he would challenge. The Endangerment Finding is a legal precedent that was established by the EPA over greenhouse gases that come from automobiles and the fossil fuel industries. Scott Pruitt is in the league of Republicans who believe that climate change is a hoax and questions whether carbon is responsible for it.

Scott Pruitt has defended his effort to cripple the EPA saying in many interviews that regulations are killing American jobs. Holden has also added, however, that even though Pruitt will attempt to challenge the endangerment finding, that it would apparently be an uphill battle as the finding stems from a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2007 and is backed by years of research investment by the scientific community. Pruitt's budget proposal was put before a hearing in early June where he was criticized by both sides about deregulating the EPA until it was no longer functioning. Like many hearings from Trump's cabinet over crippling budget proposals, Congress told Pruitt that the power of the purse remained with them. Here is an interview with the article's reporter on the PBS Newshour.