WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Republicans desperately want to rein in after what they charge was eight years of dangerous activism under the Obama administration that hurt businesses, jobs and the economy.
Pruitt maybe just the person to do it. As Oklahoma attorney general he sued the agency many times in that pursuit and has vowed to curb the EPA’s regulatory reach once in office.
The largely party line vote was 52-46.
Democratic senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who both represent energy producing states, voted for Pruitt. Moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted against him.
“He’s exceptionally qualified,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “He’s dedicated to environmental protection. And, as someone with state government experience, he understands the real-world consequences of EPA actions and knows that balance is the key to making policies that are sustainable over the long-term.”
The vote came a day after a federal judge ruled the Oklahoma attorney general’s office must turn over thousands of emails related to Pruitt’s communications with fossil fuel companies, which have a large presence in his state.
Environmental activists and many Democrats pushed to delay the confirmation vote until those emails are released — probably sometime next week — but Republicans had no interest in a delay, especially after Democrats deliberately slow-walked the confirmation process for many of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
In a last fit of…