Scott Pruitt, Trump's environment pick, gets Senate approval

The order came a day before the Senate is poised to confirm him as President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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.

Democrats crossing party lines to support Pruitt were Joseph Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Pruitt was confirmed Friday to head the EPA, which as Oklahoma attorney general, he repeatedly sued to rein in its reach during the Obama administration.

Pruitt is expected to try to dismantle large parts of the EPA's portfolio of regulations and science research put in place under prior presidents, particularly the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.

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Pruitt's opponents scoffed at Trump's suggestion that Pruitt will be a capable environmental steward.

Pruitt's backers, including mainstream Republican groups like FreedomWorks, see him as an administrator to will try to get red tape off the backs of business owners, despite studies showing that the EPA's regulations don't stifle job growth.

Environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees strongly opposed his nomination.

Scott Pruitt was approved on Friday by a vote of 52-46.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of ME was the only Republican to vote against him.

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"We gave Mr. Pruitt many opportunities to provide information to the Committee, including pre-hearing questions, the hearing itself, and post-hearing questions for the record to which Mr. Pruitt was required to submit written responses", Democratic senators said in a statement.

Pruitt's confirmation vote is scheduled to take place on Friday, but the ruling has prompted Democrats to call for a delay. Last week, following a lawsuit and a number of requests for additional emails, Pruitt's office released 411 of the more than 3,000 relevant emails.

In another stunning development, a state judge has ruled that the controversial attorney general must release thousands of documents and emails sent back and forth between himself and fossil fuel companies he worked with. Only surprise nay-votes from Republicans would be able to change the face of the matter, and that is unlikely.

"Not once, not one single time, has he pressed the EPA" for more enforcement rather than less, said Sen. Only one Republican senator, Susan Collins of ME, ultimately broke rank to vote "Nay" on Pruitt, who was confirmed by 52 to 46. John McCain of Arizona, who skipped the vote to travel to a conference in Munich.

Pruitt, if his confirmation is successful, will not be able to immediately seek revenge on these particular EPA employees trying to stop his ascension thanks to rigorous Civil Service laws.

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