Scott Pruitt's Testimony Has California's Enviro-Whackos Furious

Oklahoma Republican Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt speaks at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. Pruitt said he plans to file a lawsuit soon after he's sworn into office on Monday to challenge the federal government over the new federal health care law..(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

I have a man-crush on this guy.

Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing got underway today and the enviro-whackos, especially those from California, did not like what they heard:

Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency cast doubt on whether California should continue to have power to impose its own emission rules for cars and trucks, an authority the state has enjoyed for decades that is also the cornerstone of its efforts to fight global warming.

Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt said at a contentious confirmation hearing Wednesday that he cannot commit to keeping in place the current version of a decades-old federal waiver that allows California to set emissions standards stricter than elsewhere in the United States.

In recent years, California regulators have used the waiver to force automakers to build more efficient vehicles, which has helped the state cut its greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks by nearly a third since 2009.

More than a dozen other states have adopted the California standard as part of their own efforts both to clean their air and fight global warming.

Pruitt held out the possibility that he might take that power away during a hearing in which he also battled Democrats over his skepticism about aspects of climate science, his financial relationship with oil and gas companies, and his plans to substantially curb the EPA’s role in fighting pollution.

This is exactly right. California should not be allowed to set national policy. The waiver California currently has interferes with interstate commerce in automobiles in a way that is indistinguishable from California imposing duties and taxes on products made in other states, something the Constitution forbids.

His comments were met with strong protests by Democratic lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento. They charged that Pruitt, a self-styled crusader for states’ rights, is less committed to the principle when states pursue policies that reduce the profits of big corporations.

Pruitt’s hedging on the issue comes as California regulators have expressed confidence that the new administration would not interfere with homegrown efforts to shift the state economy away from fossil fuels. But their confidence has been based on the assumption that certain federal environmental policies, like the waiver and tax credits for wind and solar energy, would endure.

“When you say ‘review’, I hear ‘undo’ the rights of the states,” Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, which has adopted many of California’s standards, told Pruitt.

“It’s troublesome because obviously what we’ve heard all day is how much you support states’ rights when it comes to these issues. But, now when it comes to the right of California or Massachusetts or other states’ right to be able to reduce carbon pollution, you say you are going to review that.”

“Regulators are supposed to make things regular,” Pruitt said at his hearing, “to fairly and equitably enforce the rules and not pick winners and losers.”

If we are to ever get the regulatory beast off out backs, Scott Pruitt seems like a man singularly capable of leading the fight.