Why Trump's Possible Secretary of State Pick Is an Environmental Nightmare

December 10th 2016

Willie Burnley Jr.

President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State, according to NBC News sources, in what could be his most disastrous environmental pick yet.

The fossil fuel titan has a close working relationship with Vladimir Putin, which is sure to further spur speculation about whether Putin intervened in the U.S. election in favor of Trump. He also has no foreign policy experience in a governmental role and virtually none of his foreign policy views are known to the public.

What is known is that the company he has ran since 2004 was going to work with Russian oil companies to drill in the Arctic, to the great despair of environmentalists that worry it will worsen climate change. Sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration barred such activity, but a Tillerson appointment could signal Trump’s willingness to reverse those sanctions.

It is one of many signs that Trump’s administration would lead the way in deregulating the Obama administration’s environmental legacy, such as proposed cuts to the government's greenhouse gas emissions and rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.