Donald Trump supporters and environmentalists alike have a good idea of what Scott Pruitt will do as the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, each side has a different point of view. Trump supporters believe Pruitt will remove some of what they think are unnecessary environmental regulations that strap the oil and gas and coal industries. Environmentalists think Pruitt will go wild and literally set fire to the forests of the U.S.
One Houston energy attorney recently offered his thoughts about the EPA and what it might be like under Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General. David Patton with Locke Lord spoke with Texas Lawyer predicting that Pruitt will receive strong criticism from the environmentalist lobby—–something that’s already happened. It happened so quickly that the national Sierra Club is using Pruitt to raise money for the organization.
“My guess is that about half of Texas citizens and a higher percentage of oil and gas lawyers are aligned with Mr. Pruitt,” said Patton. “Since so much of the industry is centered in Texas, I believe that the change at the top of the EPA will be welcome and will lead to more business opportunities, but the agency will be sensibly governed with due regard to environmental concerns.”
Patton also believes Pruitt’s appointment will certainly cause a change of direction that will be viewed optimistically by the oil and gas industry, noting that the Obama administration has been hostile toward the fossil fuel industry.
He predicts Pruitt’s first step till be to reduce and streamline the morass of regulations affecting the environment.
“A pipeline project should not take a decade to pass muster or be denied approval,” said Patton. “Routine projects that do not cross sacred tribal lands or present hazards to sensitive fisheries should not require teams of lawyers, scientists and community advisors.”
Patton says there will be a push for clean coal to have the shackles removed and pipeline permitting route approval will be shorter and less restrictive.