Amid charges of Democratic delay tactics and accusations Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was submitting to “willful blindness,” President Trump’s choice to the lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, was confirmed by Congress’ upper chamber on Friday.
Pruitt’s approval was aided by two Democrats, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, both of whom serve energy-sensitive states. Maine Republican Susan Collins was the lone Republican to vote against Mr. Pruitt.
The former attorney general of Oklahoma was confirmed by a final count of 52–46.
Controversy surrounded Pruitt’s nomination over concerns the constitutional lawyer would devote his tenure to reining in an agency considered by many Republicans as prime example of a government bureaucracy run amok.
In contrast, Pruitt’s opponents attempted to paint him a “climate denier,” an accomplice of the oil and gas sector and raised the loudest objections to 14 lawsuits Pruitt filed against the agency he now leads while serving as attorney general in Oklahoma.
Democrats have sought a delay in the confirmation vote after expressing unease with an Oklahoma judge’s ruling Pruitt must turn over 3,000 emails or other forms of communications with energy companies. Democrats have assailed Pruitt’s associations with and donations from fossil fuel industry businesses.
Brushing aside Democratic objections in a speech on the Senate floor, Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) praised Pruitt and hinted the EPA’s mission has been to regulate the economy instead of protect the environment.
“Scott Pruitt will return some sanity to the EPA, which over the past eight years has overzealously issued thousands of regulations with little environmental benefit, all while ignoring the high economic cost,” Perdue said.
“I look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt and President Trump to scale back the EPA and provide farmers, businesses, and the American people with some relief after eight years of blatant overreach.”
Mr. Pruitt takes over an agency the president is expected to target with a a series of executive orders. Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated he will dismantle Obama-era clean energy plans, which he says have contributed significantly to job losses in the coal and natural gas industries.
[Roll Call] [Breitbart]