Scott Pruitt Confirmed by Senate to Head EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency has a new administrator.
Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general and President Donald Trump’s first choice for the role, was confirmed today following a 52-46 Senate vote that fell mainly along party lines, with some exceptions.
In an odd twist of fate, the man who once sued the EPA multiple times is now the man running it.
In his role as AG, Pruitt was a staunch defender of his state’s oil and gas industry, frequently taking legal action to protect Oklahoma’s economy from policies he viewed as a threat. There was no love lost between Pruitt and the Obama administration, especially when it came to federal environmental initiatives. Naturally, political opponents and environmentalists see his elevation to EPA head as sign of relaxed regulations to come.
Pruitt’s swearing in should come soon.
Earlier this week, an EPA source told Reuters that the agency is expecting a series of executive orders. There was no word on what the nature of those orders would be. However, given some of Trump’s campaign trail promises, many expect Pruitt to roll back regulations on drilling and mining.
With this in mind, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted in favor of Pruitt.
Yesterday, a judge ruled that Pruitt must release 3,000 emails sent between the Oklahoma AG’s office and oil and gas companies. The liberal nonprofit Center for Media and Democracy had sued to obtain the release.
While Pruitt’s new role may prove a good thing for miners, automobile manufacturers want to know what he can do for them. A total of 18 automakers with operations in the U.S. sent a letter to the Trump administration asking for the EPA’s midterm review process for fuel economy standards to be reset. To most automakers, the 54.5 mile-per-gallon target is too much to ask for.
Despite having a year left in the review timeline, the EPA pledged its support to keep Obama era fuel economy targets in place with just days remaining in the previous administration.
[Image: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]
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