REPUBLICAN administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency have often sought to trim their powers. Anne Gorsuch, a Reagan appointee (and mother of Neil, a Supreme Court justice) cut the agency’s budget by a fifth, before being forced out by a pollution scandal. But Scott Pruitt is the first to make a nonsense of his office. A former attorney-general of Oklahoma, with close ties to oil-and-gas lobbyists, Mr Pruitt says he does not believe global warming is caused by human activity and proposes a “true environmentalism”, which chiefly involves burning more fossil fuels. Or, as he puts it, “using natural resources that God has blessed us with”. Last month the EPA administrator visited Morocco on a mission to hawk American natural gas. This week he was forced by the shutdown to cancel a trip to Japan, where he was expected to visit a coal-fired power-station and tout American coal. As the protector of America’s climate-stressed environment, he is either misguided or extremely…Continue reading