New head of the US EPA sets his focus on economic growth
Scott Pruitt, the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has said that growing the economy and protecting the environment can go hand in hand.
Addressing staff at the regulator’s head office in Washington, Pruitt said: ‘I believe that we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs, and pro-environment. We don’t have to choose between the two. I think our nation has done better than any in the world at making sure that we do the job of protecting our natural resources, and protecting our environment, while also respecting economic growth.’
He warned that regulators should not act outside their legal mandate but instead provide businesses with certainty: ‘Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply. That’s really the job of the regulator, and the process we engage in.’
Pruitt’s nomination by president Trump, confirmed by a 52–46 vote in the Senate, has been controversial. As Oklahoma attorney-general, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times, while his LinkedIn profile describes him as a leading advocate against the agency’s ‘activist agenda’.
During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt was asked by senator Bernie Sanders whether he thought climate change was caused by human activity. He replied that he believed it ‘impacted’ rather than ‘caused’ climate change and argued his personal opinion was immaterial.
US environmental groups have reacted with dismay to Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA administrator. ‘As [Oklahoma] attorney-general he put dirty energy interests and other polluters ahead of protecting public health,’ said Margie Alt at Environment America. ‘Instead of taking steps to reduce pollution, he sued to stop the agency he will now lead from enforcing critical clean air and water protections.’
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a new 'Green Claims Code' to ensure businesses are not misleading consumers about their environmental credentials.
In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
In R. (on the application of Hudson) v Windsor and Maidenhead RBC, the appellant appealed against a decision to uphold the local authority’s grant of planning permission for the construction of a holiday village at the Legoland Windsor Resort.