Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, tagged by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Environmental Protection Agency, will be an effective leader, despite his criticisms of the agency's operations under President Barack Obama, Rep. Chris Collins, R-Okla., said Thursday.
"As a fellow fierce critic of the EPA, I know he's going to roll back the regulations that have been an overreach," Collins, who is on Trump's House Leadership Committee and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told CNN's "New Day."
The EPA, Collins continued, has "gone to extreme measures, whether it was a couple years ago or last year . . . the overreach of the EPA, as the Republicans have said, has hurt our economy, has hurt our farmers, it has certainly hurt our energy production, and by doing so, driven up the cost of energy."
Pruitt is a person who understands the importance of balance, Collins said, and the EPA is "out of balance. They've gone to the extreme."
Americans all want clean water and clean air, the lawmaker continued, "but there is an extreme where you start driving up the costs of living and doing business in America, overregulation, and then the federal government stomping on states rights. He will correct that overreach."
During the primary, Trump had made comments about abolishing the EPA, but Collins denied that is what is happening with Pruitt's nomination.
"It's not abolishing the EPA but bringing them back and understanding the importance of states rights and being energy independent," Collins said. "We need a policy which includes fossil fuels. It won't be abolishing the EPA but rolling back hundreds, if not thousands of regulations that was simply an overreach. Let's bring them back into the common sense world where we all live and not have the extremists."
When it comes to climate change, Collins said he believes "all of us," including Pruitt, would say human activity has had an impact, but "the extreme that the EPA has gone to in the past that's impacted our basic standard of living in this country has to be rolled back"
Some critics say Pruitt's sympathy lies with the fossil fuel industry, but Collins said instead, sympathies lie with workers who need their jobs brought back.
"At some point, I suppose if nobody goes to work, we won't have to worry about much more pollution," Collins said. "We need to get people back to work in this country. We need affordable energy and energy independence."
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