The Southern Baptist head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he opposes regulations restricting the mining of non-renewable energy resources because the Bible tells him so.
“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,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said recently in a Christian Broadcasting Network interview. “That’s wrongheaded, and I think it’s counter to what we should be about.”
Pruitt, a former deacon at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla., and a former trustee at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., told CBN’s David Brody that God commands humans to take care of creation, and that includes using what God has provided.
“The biblical worldview 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 said.
Pruitt, who last year told CNBC he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, said it is unfair to label him a science denier.
“We impact the climate by our activity,” Pruitt acknowledged. “How much so is very difficult to determine with respect to our CO2 or carbon footprint, but we obviously do.”
“But here’s the key,” he continued. “We as a country have reduced our carbon footprint by almost 20 percent from the year 2000 to 2014. You know how? Through innovation and technology, not government mandate.”
Pruitt, who as attorney general of Oklahoma was a leading opponent of the agency he now leads, said his decision to accept the president’s nomination to the post followed a season of prayer.
“I spent a couple years just earnestly praying, asking the question that I don’t think we ask enough, ‘God, what do you want to do with me?’” Pruitt said. “Really getting into our prayer closet, seeking his heart, asking what he wants to do in our lives.”
Pruitt said God “really spoke to my heart” while he was reading the latter part of the first chapter of Isaiah, where God tells Israel, “I will restore your leaders as in the days of old, your judges as at the beginning.”
“There was just a desire that welled up in me to say, ‘I want to be like those leaders that we had at our founding, at the inception of our country,’” he recounted.
Pruitt’s conservative views on other topics surfaced March 2 in a Politico report on comments he made on talk radio in Oklahoma in 2005. Then a state senator, Pruitt said in a series of programs on KFAQ-AM in Tulsa that “there aren’t sufficient scientific facts to establish the theory of evolution,” the Second Amendment right to bear arms derives from God and prohibiting public displays of the Ten Commandments elevates atheism over Christian beliefs.
Pruitt said March 1 he will consider flying in coach class on government business during an internal investigation into his use of a private jet and media reports that he spent additional money on commercial flights to sit in first class.
The EPA previously defended Pruitt’s high-cost travel habits as a security measure in response to “incidents” he encountered during travel early in his administration.