U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will nominate a strong opponent of the Obama administration's climate change regulations to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), news media reported on December 7.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose state is a top oil and gas producer in the United States, has led court challenges to President Barack Obama's first-ever climate regulations requiring power plants to switch from coal to natural gas and other clean energy sources.
News of the Pruitt pick enraged environmental activists and cheered the powerful oil industry.
Trump during his White House campaign promised to severely cut back EPA regulations, restore coal mining, free up drilling, and roll back Obama's legacy of imposing the first-ever U.S. curbs on greenhouse gases.
The power plant regulations, along with rules ratcheting up vehicle fuel efficiency standards, are a central part of Obama's plan to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Trump said he would pull the United States out of that agreement during the campaign but has appeared more open to honoring the deal at times since his election.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders vowed to "vigorously oppose" the Pruitt nomination, which environmentalists likened to "having the fox guard the henhouse."