Senate Confrimed Scott Pruitt to Run the Environmental Protection Agency
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt on Friday to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agency at the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer.
Senators voted 52 to 46 to confirm Mr. Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who has built a career out of suing to block the E.P.A.’s major environmental rules and has called for the dissolution of much of the agency’s authority. One Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, crossed party lines to vote against Mr. Pruitt, while two Democrats, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, both from coal-rich states where voters generally oppose environmental rules, voted for him.
Democrats railed all night on the Senate floor against Mr. Pruitt and urged Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to delay the confirmation vote until after next Tuesday, when the Oklahoma attorney general’s office is under order to release about 3,000 of Mr. Pruitt’s emails related to his communications with the fossil fuel industry.
But the effort did little but deprive Democrats of sleep.
Democrats, environmental groups and even current E.P.A. employees have harshly criticized Mr. Pruitt’s record of fighting the mission of the agency he will now lead, as well as his close ties with the fossil fuel industry he will now regulate. Both opponents and supporters of Mr. Pruitt’s say he is well positioned to carry out Mr. Trump’s campaign trail promises to dismantle the agency and slash its ranks of employees. Mr. Trump vowed to “get rid” of the agency “in almost every form.”
(From Coral Davenport, NY Times, 2/17/17)