Calling him a champion for American agriculture and a strong advocate for sound science and the rule of law, the National Pork Producers Council endorsed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s top law enforcement officer sued the EPA over its controversial Waters of the United States rule and investigated the fund-raising practices of the Humane Society of the United States, last month was nominated for the EPA post by President-elect Donald Trump.
“As Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt has struck a balance between protecting the environment and protecting the livelihoods of farmers and business owners,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “Everyone, particularly farmers, wants to have clean air and water and to preserve and protect our natural resources. But you don’t achieve those by piling regulation upon regulation on the very people who are the stewards of the land, air and water. General Pruitt understands that, and that will serve him well as administrator of EPA.”
Among his efforts to protect farmers, Pruitt most recently helped craft a 2016 Oklahoma ballot initiative that would have made it easier to challenge environmental and animal-rights regulations in state court. The “right-to-farm” initiative, which was rejected by voters, would have required the state’s courts to overturn any agricultural or livestock regulations unless there was a “compelling state interest” to uphold them.
The attorney general also joined a lawsuit related to California’s 2008 Proposition 2 initiative, which banned certain housing methods for egg-laying hens, pigs and veal calves. The California Legislature subsequently approved a law that prohibits the sale in the state of eggs, pork and veal from animals raised in the banned housing outside of California. In late 2014, Pruitt and five other state attorneys general filed suit over the law, claiming it restrains interstate trade, a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
In 2015, Pruitt sued EPA over the Waters of the United States rule, saying the regulation appeared to be “another attempt by federal agencies to implement an agenda through regulations to affect land-use decisions that should be left to the states and private property owners.”
“NPPC strongly endorses General Pruitt for EPA administrator,” Weber said. “He’s a champion for American agriculture who will rely on science and support the rule of law in advancing common sense regulations that will protect our environment without overburdening farmers.”