The president and CEO of the largest fossil fuel trade organization in the U.S. said Wednesday that while he takes climate change “seriously,” there’s nothing to worry about because his industry has everything under control.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill this morning, American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said that despite the devastating hurricanes that have hit the U.S. in the last couple of weeks — storms that scientists think are stronger because the Earth is warmer — President Donald Trump should continue his deregulatory agenda.
Instead, Gerard said, a “public debate” is necessary to understand the “trade-offs” of imposing “excessive costs on an industry” through “unnecessary regulation,” according to E&E News.
“It wasn’t the regulatory process that drove the United States where it is today,” Gerard added. “The free market, and technological advances, brought the world where it is today in leading the world in carbon reduction.”
Gerard and his organization have a cozy relationship with Scott Pruitt, the Trump-appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, as EPA head, attended the American Petroleum Institute’s annual board meeting on March 22, at the Trump hotel in D.C.
And Pruitt’s EPA has been rolling back environmental regulations at a record pace. Shifting the focus of the EPA away from fossil fuel regulation and climate change, Pruitt said he’s taking a “back-to-basics” approach to the agency.
The American Petroleum Institute has also specifically asked the EPA to roll back certain regulations, and so far, Pruitt appears to have done his best to comply. After the institute made getting rid of a regulation around the emergency shutdown of refineries a priority, Pruitt took actions to tie the rule up in the courts.
Before Pruitt became EPA administrator, as attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued the EPA 14 times. And when he challenged the EPA’s determination that greenhouse gases are a risk to public health and the environment, he did so alongside the American Petroleum Institute, which was also suing the EPA.
The institute has also donated to the Republican Attorneys General Association — of which Pruitt was president.