Democrats are doing what they can to delay the vote of Scott Pruitt to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, holding another all-night session to highlight their their opposition to the Oklahoma attorney general for his past battles with the regulatory agency he would be tasked to now run.
Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia bucked their party to confirm Pruitt.
A 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times exposé revealed that then Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt copied and pasted letters and documents written by lobbyists of oil and gas companies who were big campaign contributors of his onto the official letterhead of his office - often to berate the EPA. He is widely viewed as the chief architect of the assault against former President Barack Obama's climate change policies that were aimed at sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the nation's aging power plants and manufacturing plants.
Pruitt may not necessarily allow all states to pursue their own environmental programs. "With his healthy skepticism of agency power, Administrator Pruitt will return environmental protection to the states where it rightfully belongs".
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"Pruitt has demonstrated time and again his unwillingness to accept the science of climate change and his contempt for the laws protecting our air and drinking water", he added.
Barrasso blamed Democrats for "delay tactics" to slow down Pruitt's confirmation. On Thursday, an Oklahoma judge ordered Pruitt's office to release approximately 3,000 e-mails related to his past communications as attorney general with fossil-fuel companies, with whom he worked closely to sue the E.P.A. on 14 separate occasions. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., spoke Friday to Pruitt's oil ties: He is a longtime litigant against the federal environmental agency that he has been nominated to head.
In the end, Pruitt won confirmation narrowly, on a 52 to 46 vote, garnering the most "no" votes of any EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, wilted under the pressure.
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To dramatize their cause, Democrats kept the Senate in session Thursday night into Friday morning with speeches opposing Pruitt's confirmation.
Should Pruitt be confirmed, it would be hard to fire those workers who opposed him due to Civil Service protections, meaning there could be a lot of internal dissension against actions Pruitt aims to take, like dismantling the Clean Power Plan. This is especially true because Republican John McCain was not present to vote - and would have voted for Pruitt. "It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what EPA has done".
The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump is also expected to sign executive orders as early as Friday that would begin rolling back the EPA's climate change work, though it's easier to order that than it is to actually accomplish it.
"Not once, not one single time, has he pressed the EPA" for more enforcement rather than less, said Sen.
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