Published: Sun, February 19, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The 52-46 vote comes a day after an Oklahoma judge said Pruitt was in violation of the state's Open Records Act and ordered the release of thousands of emails between his office and fossil fuel companies.

Pruitt is perhaps the most controversial appointment in the history of the EPA - the Oklahoma attorney general has spent years fighting the role and reach of the organisation he now heads.

Those comments did not convince Democrats, who pointed out Pruitt's past cooperation with the fossil fuel industry on legal challenges and questioned his skepticism of mainstream climate science.

Democrats held the Republican-controlled Senate floor through the night on 17 February to put pressure on the chamber to delay the confirmation vote. Senate Democrats said that warranted a delay on Pruitt's confirmation, but Republicans pushed the vote ahead.

The Senate voted 52-46 in favor of Pruitt, largely along party lines, with one Republican defecting, Susan Collins of ME, and two Democrats in favor: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, two states with substantial coal industries.

He got the support of Democratic senators Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin as both voted in his favour.

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Meet the new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, who opposes the EPA.

In his January confirmation hearing, Pruitt admitted that he now believes the climate is warming, although he refused to take a definitive stance on whether he believed the warming climate is mostly anthropogenic in nature.

Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, shits on the environment. One Republican, Sen Susan Collins of ME, broke with her party and voted against the nominee.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said West Virginia has a friend in Pruitt. The month-long silence was broken yesterday with a tweet congratulating Pruitt on his confirmation, despite almost every employee railing against it. President Trump campaigned on promises to loosen regulations on energy production and vowed to roll back the Clean Power Plan.

At a press conference Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was asked why he didn't postpone the vote until after Pruitt's emails became available. On Friday, he voted to extend debate, but then voted in favor of Pruitt in the final vote.

The former Oklahoma attorney general spent years suing the agency which he will now lead over its efforts to regulate pollution.

Maine's two senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, voted against confirmation.

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