Andrew Restuccia and Alex Guillen report in Politico on the heat President Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is taking from conservatives over reports that he successfully urged Trump not to revoke the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding,” a far-reaching ruling introduced by the Obama administration that labeled carbon dioxide a dangerous substance in need of broad regulation. Politico notes that among Pruitt’s high profile critics is Breitbart News’s James Delingpole.
A cadre of conservative climate skeptics are fuming about the decision — expressing their concern to Trump administration officials and arguing Pruitt is setting himself up to run for governor or the Senate. They hope the White House, perhaps senior adviser Stephen Bannon, will intervene and encourage the president to overturn the endangerment finding.
James Delingpole, a Breitbart News columnist, blasted Pruitt on Monday, arguing he is “more interested in building his political career than he is taking on the Green Blob, insiders report.” Bannon ran Breitbart before joining the Trump campaign last summer.
Delingpole, who first reported that Pruitt advocated against reopening the endangerment finding, even suggested that the EPA administrator should resign.
Meanwhile, EPA officials have expressed frustration at the presence of former Washington State Sen. Don Benton, the agency’s White House-assigned senior adviser.
Benton has repeatedly butted heads with Ryan Jackson, Pruitt’s chief of staff. Multiple sources speculated that Benton might soon leave the agency. And EPA is expected to bring in two new communications staffers, the sources said. The agency is eyeing J.P. Freire, a spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), as its new communications director and Liz Bowman, a spokeswoman at the American Chemistry Council, as its deputy communications director. Neither Freire nor Bowman responded to requests for comment.