On Thursday, esteemed journalist Dan Rather went on Facebook to express his concerns over Donald Trump’s latest cabinet pick. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a close ally of the oil and gas industries and a longtime foe of the EPA who has fiercely fought against environmental regulation; in his message, Rather pointed out that Pruitt will now oversee “soot-free air, water free of poisonous chemicals, and of course the crisis of climate change.”
Here is the full text of Dan Rather’s message:
There is no gated community when it comes to the environment. No wall high enough to stop dirty air. No guards who can check the IDs of the storms and droughts that will increase with intensity when it comes to the devastating effects of climate change. There are many social problems that the rich and powerful can wilfully disregard by separating themselves from the poor and powerless – but the environment isn’t one of them. I really don’t understand the motivations of those who seem eager to pollute the one Earth we all must call home. Never have. Never will.
And yet, from all accounts, Donald Trump’s pick of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency could easily turn the name of the group he might soon lead into a mockery. The EPA is the cop on the beat to make sure our air is safe to breathe and our water safe to drink. Its role, in the age of climate change, is more vital than ever. You could argue that its mission now is one of national – and global – security for life as we know it. It was created by a Republican president – Richard Nixon – at a time that now seems utterly foreign, when the health of the planet was largely a bipartisan concern. But Pruitt is not of the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt – or even Nixon. He has, at seemingly every turn of his public, life worked hard to lessen if not destroy the very regulations and initiatives he will now be tasked to oversee – on soot-free air, water free of poisonous chemicals, and of course the crisis of climate change.
There will always be some friction between the needs of human beings, living in a modern world, and environmental protection. However modern science, technology and philosophies over how we move, generate power, conserve resources, even what we eat, can provide solutions for reducing the negative shadow our species casts over so much of life on Earth. By being bold and creative, we can be more prosperous and healthy. As Pope Francis said recently, we are “stewards not masters” of our planet. For the life of me, I can’t see how anybody could find that statement controversial or objectionable unless you are so blinded by shortsightedness. It is a political trope to talk about the world you want for your children and grandchildren, but with the environment that is not spin. It’s real. Deadly real. And we need leadership that understands that.
Most of president-elect Trump’s cabinet picks will require confirmation by the Senate. If you have an opinion on any of the prospective cabinet members, contact your Senators and let them know.