Pruitt confirmed as EPA administrator

Employees of the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump's contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A.

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.

An Oklahoma judge on Thursday ordered the state attorney general's office to release more than 2,500 emails between Pruitt and members of the fossil fuel industry, like Koch Industries and the National Coal Council, by Tuesday.

But the effort did little but deprive Democrats of sleep.
Democrats and environmental activists have strongly criticized Pruitt's record as attorney general of Oklahoma-a record that included a number of lawsuits aimed at blocking Obama-era EPA regulations concerning pollution and climate change.

The vote came after Democrats held the Senate floor for hours overnight and through the morning to criticize Pruitt as a pawn of the fossil-fuel industry and to push for a last-minute delay of his confirmation. The group filed a lawsuit earlier this month, alleging Pruitt violated the state's Open Records Act by failing to make the emails public.

President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has been confirmed by the Senate. "Many of the coal, oil and gas companies represented by those lobbyists were also some his largest campaign contributors", the Times' Coral Davenport wrote in her piece on today's confirmation.

"As Senator for a state hard-hit by EPA regulations, and chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the agency, I have a keen interest in who serves as its Administrator", Murkowski explained. It's just less likely that whatever is in them will influence his appointment.

"Scott's principled approach will respect the law and reinforce the EPA's core mission to protect our air and water without unconstitutional and job killing overreach, which has brought tremendous harm to West Virginia during the past eight years", Morrisey said in a Friday afternoon news release.

Pruitt, 48, is a former state senator and unsuccessful candidate for Oklahoma lieutenant governor.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pushed back on the accusations from Republicans that Democrats are purposely trying to stall the vote to get back at Trump.

One Republican, Susan Collins of ME, broke with her party to vote against the confirmation of Pruitt.

"Not once, not one single time, has he pressed the EPA" for more enforcement rather than less, said Sen.

Scott Pruitt moved a step closer to leading the agency he has often sued, and though the vote will be close, he is expected to be confirmed.



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