President-elect Donald Trump will pick Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to Trump’s transition team.
Pruitt, a Republican, has been critical of EPA regulations and led legal challenges against the agency’s two most contentious rules: the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. Reuters reports Pruitt will head the agency he’s fighting in court.
Trump made rolling back EPA regulations a key part of his campaign message, especially in Appalachia where power plant regulations have contributed to thousands of coal mine layoffs.
“We’re going to get those miners back to work,” Trump said at a campaign rally. “The miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week, and Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again. Believe me. You’re going to be proud again to be miners.”
Coal mine employment fell 12 percent in 2015 to its lowest level since the Department of Energy began collecting such data in 1978. West Virginia and Kentucky saw coal mine jobs fall 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
Frustrated miners and their families took their frustrations with the Obama administration to the polls on Election Day.
Trump won nearly 63 percent of the vote in Kentucky, and won just shy of 69 percent of votes in West Virginia. Trump’s coat-tails in Kentucky were so strong that Republicans took control of the state’s legislature for the first time since 1921.