WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump is considering an oil billionaire and a North Dakota lawmaker for top posts as he moves to roll back President Barack Obama’s environmental and energy policies and allow unfettered production of oil, coal and natural gas.
Trump has vowed to rescind “all job-destroying Obama executive actions” and pledges to sharply increase oil and gas drilling on federal lands while opening up offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and other areas where it is blocked.
Topping Trump’s to-do list is repealing the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature effort to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The plan — the linchpin of Obama’s strategy to fight climate change — is on hold awaiting a court ruling.
Trump also is targeting recent Obama administration efforts to reduce air and water pollution that have been opposed by Republicans and industries that profit from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, including a rule to protect small streams and wetlands and ozone regulations designed to cut down on smog.
Those under consideration for energy secretary include Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oil tycoon and leading proponent of fracking, and North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, an early Trump supporter from a major oil drilling state, according to transition planning documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Venture capitalist Robert Grady, who worked in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, is listed as a contender to lead both the Energy and Interior departments.
It’s unclear whether the list is exhaustive or has been reviewed by Trump. The Republican is in the early stages of setting up his administration.
A coalition of conservative states has challenged both the Clean Power Plan and the water rule, which expanded the definition of waters protected under the Clean Water Act to smaller non-navigable waters and seasonal tributaries.
The administration says the rule would safeguard drinking water for 117 million people, but Republicans and some Democrats representing rural areas say the regulations are costly, confusing and amount to a government power grab. Federal courts have put the rules on hold as judges review lawsuits.
Trump also is likely to move quickly to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, which Obama rejected last year.
Trump highlighted the project at a campaign stop in Florida last month and listed it among his top priorities for the first 100 days of his administration.