Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
Local | By Adrian Hale

Environmental Groups Decry Confirmation of Scott Pruitt to Lead EPA

In a Thursday afternoon hearing, the judge ordered the release of thousands of emails as Senate Democrats held the floor in a last ditch effort to delay the vote in order to review the documents.

Throughout the confirmation process, Democrats expressed concern with Pruitt's track record as Oklahoma Attorney General, where he consistently joined oil and gas companies in challenging federal environmental regulations.

But Pruitt will have the support of the President, who is expected to sign an Executive Order "scaling back Obama-era climate change initiatives and shaking up the Environmental Protection Agency", around the time he visits the EPA headquarters for Pruitt's swearing in, according to reports from earlier this week.

The close 52-46 vote was almost along party lines aside from aisle-switching by Susan Collins (R-ME) to oppose and Joe Manchin III (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), both from coal-rich states, to support. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV), both from coal-heavy states, voted in favor of the nomination, while Republican Sen. Pruitt also said he would look to EPA counsel on whether he must recuse himself from lawsuits he still has pending against the EPA. Scott Pruitt has served Oklahoma as a stalwart defender of state's rights to regulate the health, welfare and economic interests of their citizens.

The Senate's confirmation of Pruitt as the head of EPA all but settles questions as to whether Trump would pursue the climate-change-as-Chinese-hoax ideas he propounded during the presidential campaign once he arrived at the White House. The Senate, which is supposed to advise and consent to this nomination, wouldn't see it until well after Pruitt had taken office at the EPA. One Republican, Sen Susan Collins of ME, broke with her party and voted against the nominee.

"This information ought to be evaluated before Republicans jam his nomination through to lead the EPA". He has sued it more than a dozen times when he was the attorney-general of Oklahoma. It's a request he's denied for more than two years until the judge said he must comply.

President trump standing firm on his pick.

Manchin, for his part, was the sole Democrat to join Republicans to vote in favor of Steven Mnuchin heading the Treasury Secretary and confirm Jeff Sessions as USA attorney general.

"If it wasn't one thing, it'd be another", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

He set up a "federalism unit" at the office of the Oklahoma attorney general to "combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government".

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