Donald Trump Chooses Climate Sceptic and Committed Christian Scott Pruitt For Top Environment Job

Attorney General of Oklahoma Scott Pruitt, second left, has been chosen by Donald Trump to head the Environmental Protection Agency. He joins house budget committee chairman Tom Price, left, as head of the Department of Health and Human Services, former New York investment banker and hedge fund investor Steven Mnuchin, second right, as Treasury Secretary and Senator Jeff Sessions, right, Attorney General.Reuters

Southern Baptist leaders have welcomed the choice by President-elect Donald Trump of leading Baptist layman Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt is a climate change sceptic and according to Washington Post, the move signals an assault on President Obama's climate change legacy.

Pruitt has while attorney general of the oil-rich state of Oklahoma been a dedicated opponent of the agency.

A press release from the Presidential Transition Team made it clear there will be a change of direction and Pruitt's combative approach to the agency's ideals under a Democratic regime would continue.

Heading the agency is a key appointment to a cabinet-level position.

The transition team praised Pruitt as an expert in Constitutional law and one of the country's top attorneys general, saying he brings a "deep understanding of the impact of regulations" on both the environment and the economy.

Trump said: "For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.

"As my EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, the highly respected Attorney General from the state of Oklahoma, will reverse this trend and restore the EPA's essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.

"My administration strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity."

Pruitt said: "I am deeply grateful and honored to serve as President-elect Trump's EPA Administrator.

"The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."

Pruitt pledged to move America toward energy independence, create millions of new jobs and protect clean air and water, as well as to "rescind all job-destroying executive actions and eliminate all barriers to responsible energy production."

This would create at least a half million jobs each year and produce $30 billion in higher wages, he promised.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Dr Albert Mohler tweeted:

Dr Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics And Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted:

But not everyone was happy.

America's largest environmental organisation, the Sierra Club, said: "Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires. He is a climate science denier who, as Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma, regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA protections.

"Nothing less than our children's health is at stake. Scott Pruitt, whose own bio describes him as 'a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda' cannot be trusted to head the EPA, an agency charged with protecting all Americans from threats to their water, air, and health. We strongly urge Senators, who are elected to represent and protect the American people, to stand up for families across the nation and oppose this nomination."