US President-elect Donald Trump is to announce a critic of Barack Obama’s climate change policies to head the environment department.
Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, is said to be part of legal action by 24 states against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the Clean Power Plan, which is one of Mr Obama’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
While Mr Pruitt’s appointment has not yet been formally announced, the President-elect’s Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway has been reported as saying: “We’re very accustomed to the naysayers and the critics.
“Attorney General Pruitt has great qualifications and a good record… We look forward to the confirmation hearings.”
Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders called the move “sad and dangerous”.
Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) added: “High on the list of reported contenders is a man who has devoted much of his career to trying to block the agency from doing its job: Scott Pruitt, the Republican Attornery General of the oil and gas state of Oklahoma.
“Over the past five years, Pruitt has used his position as Oklahoma’s top prosecutor to sue the EPA in a series of attempts to deny Americans the benefits of reducing mercury, arsenic and other toxins from the air we breathe; cutting smog that can cause asthma attacks and protecting our wetlands and streams.”
Environmental group Sierra Club believes Mr Pruitt is the wrong person for the job.
However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott believes otherwise.
Mr Trump met former US Vice President Al Gore this week to discuss climate change.