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Here's How Trump Plans to Dismantle Environmental Laws

In an afternoon meeting, Donald Trump and his transition team reportedly worked to quickly identify top candidates for key energy positions in his administration.

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm, who yesterday advised Trump to "just scrap" Obama's energy industry regulations, is considered a leading contender for Secretary of Energy.

According to Politico:

Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire who has been a friend of Trump's for years, has been the leading influence on Trump's energy policy during the campaign. If Hamm passes, venture capitalist Robert Grady is also seen as a top candidate, though he could also be in line for Interior.

Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products firm Lucas Oil, is favored as a top choice to lead the Department of the Interior.

However, according to Politico:

Trump's presidential transition team is also eyeing venture capitalist Robert Grady, a George H.W. Bush White House official with ties to Chris Christie. And Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., is said to be interested in the job.

Meanwhile, a person who spoke to the Trump campaign told POLITICO that the aides have also discussed tapping Sarah Palin for Interior Secretary. Trump has said he'd like to put Palin in his cabinet, and Palin has made no secret of her interest.

Other possible candidates include former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis; and Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm.

Sarah Palin / Harold Hamm

Although Trump has previously said he would abolish the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reports say he will instead ask climate skeptic Myron Ebell to lead the agency. In September, Trump said he will "refocus the EPA on its core mission of ensuring clean air, and clean, safe drinking water for all Americans."

According to Politico:

Ebell, who is running the EPA working group on Trump's transition team, is an official at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and has come under fire from environmental groups for his stances on global warming. Venture capitalist Robert Grady is also a contender.

Other potential candidates: Joe Aiello, director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Environmental Safety and Quality Assurance; Carol Comer, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, who was appointed by Pence; and Leslie Rutledge, attorney general of Arkansas and a lead challenger of EPA regulations in the state.

"Contrary to president-elect Donald Trump's populist message during his campaign, Trump is trying to stack his administration with industry executives and fossil fuel barons who will make life worse for everyone but themselves," Greenpeace USA climate liability attorney Naomi Ages said. "These people will undoubtedly advocate for corporate interests that benefit only those at the top and continue to leave the rest of us behind, including the working class.

"'Environmental protection' will take backseat to 'corporate protection' with Myron Ebell as head of the EPA, 'drill, baby, drill' will ring across this country with Sarah Palin in the Interior Department, and Harold Hamm's oil would flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline and so many others if he were Energy Secretary."

For a deeper dive:

Politico, Fuel Fix, Politico Pro, Forbes, CNN, New York Magazine, USA Today, Greenwire, Pacific Standard

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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