After a long battle, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received the final vote of approval Friday afternoon.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a long-time vocal opponent of the many regulations put into place by Obama’s EPA, was confirmed as the new EPA leader in a narrow vote of 52-46. One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) opposed Pruitt, but two Democrats joined other Republicans to approve him.
The Democrats who crossed the party line to vote for Pruitt were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
The Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Pruitt highly before the vote:
“The nominee before us … thinks it’s time for the EPA to get back to the clean air and clean water business instead, and to do so with an appreciation for the complexity of our modern world,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor.“He’s exceptionally qualified. 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.”
Democrats made one final attempt to delay the vote until they had a chance to read Pruitt’s emails, but that was shot down.
They will get the emails, however. Late Thursday, a state judge ruled that Pruitt must release thousands of emails he and his staff have exchanged with various fossil fuel and conservative interests.
Pruitt’s swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 5:00 pm Friday.
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