Senate vote on Scott Pruitt nomination for EPA set for noon Friday

Pruitt Confirmation Vote This Week

Scott Pruitt cleared his first test in the Senate Thursday morning, with two Democrats joining Republicans in advancing the former Oklahoma attorney general one step closer to becoming administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) joining all 52 Republicans to set up a confirmation vote. James Lankford (R-OK) said the cloture vote officially started 30 hours of debate before the confirmation vote.

The group's problem stems from Pruitt's involvement as Oklahoma Attorney General in at least 26 lawsuits against the EPA, nine of which the group says are still active cases.

Meanwhile, EPA staff has reportedly been told that the Trump administration is preparing several executive orders that will affect the agency, and that the president would sign the orders after Pruitt is presumably confirmed. Tom Carper, Delaware Democrat, said on the floor of the Senate just before the vote.

Pruitt is vehemently opposed by environmental activists and nearly every Democrat.

The letter to McConnell stated that the hearing would include information that Democrats on the environment committee requested from Pruitt that he refused to provide. But in his confirmation hearing, Mr. Pruitt infamously said that his "personal opinion" on climate change is "immaterial.' Global warming should not be a matter of 'personal opinion" or belief for an EPA chief; it should be a matter of science.

Carper was joined by fellow Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of OR and Tammy Duckworth of IL at a Thursday press conference to criticize Republican leadership for not delaying Pruitts' confirmation. "He does not control everything that happens in that agency", she said, "and there are career people who have been there who are not going to easily let him dismantle it". He helped preserve many of Oklahoma's scenic lakes and rivers through a water rights settlement with local Indian tribes and worked across state and party lines with his Democratic counterpart in Arkansas to reduce pollution in the Illinois River. "My fear is that a number of members, especially on the other side, would have been put in a very bad position and asked to vote for a nominee that they otherwise may not have supported, had they known the truth".

When the Center for Media and Democracy only received a partial response to their records requests, they filed a lawsuit in an effort to force disclosure ahead of the pending confirmation vote.

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