His actual power as EPA administrator will be limited.
“The EPA administrator has substantial policy discretion in choosing how to implement federal environmental statutes, but this discretion is constrained by the substantive requirements of existing environmental laws as well as by the procedural requirements for agency actions,” Jonathan H. Adler, a law professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email. “How much discretion the administrator has depends on the specific issue or policy in question. So, for example, Administrator Pruitt would have the ability to unwind the Clean Power Plan by rescinding the relevant EPA regulations through a new rulemaking, but it is unlikely that he would be able to undo or reverse the ‘endangerment finding’ that is the basis for many other EPA actions on climate change.”
Many of Trump’s picks for positions on his cabinet so far have been political outsiders and businesspeople within the president-elect’s own inner circle. Pruitt is relatively unconnected to the Trump campaign, and his nomination is likely a result of requests by his transition team that Trump’s picks should include more state officials and people not already connected to the president-elect, according to The Wall Street Journal. Still, Pruitt’s views on the environment and pro-business policies for oil and gas seem to align pretty well with Trump’s.