Scott Pruitt's decision to scrap the EPA's Clean Power Plan is certain to be challenged by environmental groups and state officials.
The auto industry should join them.
It was clear well before he was appointed EPA administrator that Pruitt's name and the words "environmental protection" don't belong on the same business card. He is an unapologetic tool of the legacy fossil-fuel industry and cares not a whit about clean air or water. And it's a travesty that he speaks for the United States at a time when Detroit's (and Palo Alto's) finest minds are working overtime to leave that legacy behind.
But let him not speak for U.S. automakers, which have finally earned some credibility on environmental responsibility through their innovative products and the factories that produce them. Credit leaders such as Bill Ford, Elon Musk and Mary Barra as well.
The industry has found a convenient ally in Pruitt on reviewing greenhouse gas regulations for light vehicles. But if Pruitt has his way on fuels used for electric power generation, the plug-in vehicles that herald a new era in clean transportation would be reduced to coal-burners, and the industry will have nothing to show for its work other than a reputation for hypocrisy.
That's not a reason to retreat from electric vehicles. It's a reason to resist Pruitt and his coal-fired crusade against the environment.
Last week, Pruitt made a point of announcing his decision to end "the war on coal" in a place called Hazard, Ky., as if to underscore that when it comes to air quality, the threat of climate change and the health of Americans, he and the Trump EPA relish the idea of living dangerously.
The auto industry should want no part of that.
The public comment period on Pruitt's proposal will be open for 60 days. That's more than enough time for auto industry leaders to find their voice and make it heard.