Dems Couldn't Stop It: Pruitt New Head of EPA

Oklahoma AG confirmed in 52-46 Senate vote
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2017 1:13 PM CST
Pruitt Overcomes Dem Objections, Now Heads EPA
Meet your new EPA secretary, Scott Pruitt.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

After a rough couple of days in the stocking of President Trump's administration, the Senate got back to business and pushed at least one more through. Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt will head the Environmental Protection Agency, the Hill reports, after a Friday Senate vote confirmed him 52-46. As promised, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins didn't cast a ballot for Pruitt, but every other GOP Senator did, with the exception of Arizona's John McCain, who was overseas at a conference. On the other side, West Virginia's Joe Manchin and North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp declined to join their Dem colleagues in voting against him (Indiana's Joe Donnelly was the only Democrat who didn't vote).

Democrats had lobbied to stall the vote for Pruitt—described by the New York Times as having "built a career out of suing to block the EPA's major environmental rules"—until after next Tuesday, when thousands of emails were ordered to be set loose by Pruitt's office regarding his correspondence with members of the oil and gas industries. But Jeff Holmstead, an EPA administrator in the George W. Bush administration, shrugs off the outcry over Pruitt. "Whoever was nominated by President Trump, the environmental community was going to demonize," he tells the Washington Post. (More Scott Pruitt stories.)

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