More than 40 evangelical Christian leaders are supporting Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, even though Pruitt has a history of opposing the EPA and denying that man-made climate change is settled science.
The conservative Christian leaders sent Trump a letter on Dec. 16 that supported Pruitt by quoting the Bible, according to The Christian Post:
We are evangelical Christians who are committed to a proper stewardship of all creation, driven by our knowledge that '"the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof" [Psalm 24:1].
A very great stewardship is invested in the Environmental Protection Agency, and thus in its Administrator. We support the nomination of Attorney General Scott Pruitt. We do not deny the existence of climate change nor the urgency of this concern.
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We affirm an ongoing debate on the proper balance between the unleashing of human enterprise and the protection of creation. We call for justice, righteousness, and compassion in every dimension of our national life, including our government.
The letter's signatories included Pastor Greg Laurie, who holds large Billy Graham-style revival meetings, longtime Trump opponent and Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, Southern Baptist Convention President and Pastor Steve Gaines, Pastor Ronnie Floyd, Texas Pastor Jack Graham and Albert Mohler Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pruitt, who has taken in more than $250,000 in donations from the oil and gas industry, led a lawsuit by 28 states against President Barack Obama's plans to reduce carbon pollution, notes The Guardian.
In May 2016, Pruitt co-wrote an op-ed for the National Review that claimed the science was still up for debate regarding man-made climate change:
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Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.
In 2013, a study found that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate papers by scientists agreed that global warming was man-made, reported The Guardian.
In the same article, The Guardian noted a 2002 memo from GOP pollster Frank Luntz to Republicans:
Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.
Pruitt questioned scientific certainty during an interview in October 2016 with a radio show called "Exploring Energy," according to CNN:
There's a tremendous dispute, as you know, that's going on in the marketplace about how much this global warming trend that the administration talks about, if it's true or not.
Is it truly man-made and is this just simply another period of time where the Earth is cooling, increasing in heat? Is it just typical, natural type of occurrences as opposed what the administration says?
Pruitt tried to sow more doubt in another 2016 interview, notes CNN:
Fundamentally, from my perspective, it's wrong at its core because the debate about climate change is truly that. It's debate. There are scientists that agree. There are scientists who don't agree to the extent of man's contribution, and what's even harmful at this point.
In October, Pruitt falsely claimed on "Exploring Energy" that the protesters who oppose Dakota Access Pipeline were "hyper-environmentalists" who support "simply stopping all forms of fossil fuel energy."
It's has been documented numerous times that the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are mostly Native Americans who oppose pipeline's current route because they believe it may poison their water supply, and because it goes over their sacred burial grounds.
The Christian leaders, who support Pruitt, said in their letter that "Pruitt has been misrepresented as denying 'settled science,' when he has actually called for a continuing debate."
"This is in the very best tradition of science," the letter states.
The New York Times reported in 2014 that Pruitt sent a three-page letter to the EPA, on Oklahoma state stationary, that said federal government regulators had greatly overestimated air pollution that was caused by new natural gas wells (fracking) in his state.
However, Pruitt's letter was actually written by lawyers who represented Devon Energy, a giant oil and gas company in Oklahoma.