Scott Pruitt, who ostensibly runs the Environmental Protection Agency when he’s not taking first-class plane trips or speculating that climate change might actually be good, has once again taken to using the Bible to justify parts of his agenda.
Per Vox, during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network—a media group that’s become notable for its unending slew of pro-Donald Trump content—Pruitt cited his belief that the Bible tells humankind to exploit the resources of the Earth however they see fit. He added that under Barack Obama’s administration, the EPA had undergone “weaponization” to serve the aims of the “environmental left” that he sought to undo.
“The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,” Pruitt told CBN host David Brody. “... The ‘environmental left’ tells us that, though we have natural resources like natural gas and oil and coal, and though we can feed the world, we should keep those things in the ground, put up fences and be about prohibition.”
“The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,” Pruitt added.
Pruitt appears to be referencing parts of the Bible that grant humans “dominion” over the Earth and the right to exploit its resources, which as Vox noted, have long become synonymous with the concept of mastery over the Earth among some US evangelical Christians. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pruitt’s personal biblical conception of what to do with the planet’s resources might explain things like his obsequious attitude towards the oil industry and polluters, his eagerness to pack the EPA with extraction industry shills, and his general hostility towards the agency’s scientists. Pruitt has cited religious teachings before when kicking researchers who receive grants off advisory boards, potentially opening the way for industry officials to sit there in their stead.
In the rest of his CBN interview, Pruitt issued a lot of nonsensical gibberish around the issue of climate change, saying that we see a changing climate “throughout history” and that it is “very difficult to determine with respect to our CO2 or carbon footprint” how much humans are contributing to it. He also explained that he pretty much believed that big government was getting in the way of progress and that innovation and technology, “not government mandate,” is responsible for reducing “our carbon footprint by almost twenty percent from the year 2000 to 2014" (a claim based on completely misleading metrics, but who’s counting at this point?).
So, to summarize: Pruitt thinks that the Bible justifies exploiting all the natural resources of the planet at the same time scientists say exploiting all the fossil fuels would devastate the planet.
In any case, whatever specific biblical justifications Pruitt can come up with are moderately unimportant compared to the general implication he can come up with one of them for anything he chooses to do. Hundreds of EPA staff have already quit, retired, or taken buyout packages to leave the agency under Pruitt’s tenure, part of a downward trend begun as Republicans imposed budgetary constraints under President Obama that seems to be accelerating.