Yet another Trump candidate confirmation passed by a small margin: Scott Pruitt will now lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
President Trump believes that the EPA has taken its efforts too far.
Pruitt is a known critic of the EPA, and has gone so far as to file lawsuits against the agency in the past. He has made it publicly clear through his actions that he doesn't support protecting the environment when money is at stake, and he is on the record saying there is still a “debate” about climate change science.
His nomination doesn't come as much of a surprise, since the Trump administration has actually toyed with the concept of eliminating the EPA entirely - an agency the President didn't even know the name of while on the campaign trail. Trump said during a Fox News town hall in April he vowed to do away with the “Department of Environmental”, and even gave the made-up agency its own acronym ("the DEP"...why the P?) before confidently assessing its impact on the US economy.
Pruitt is already geared up to eliminate the water pollution rule, as well as to do away with the Clean Power Plan, and Trump is set to sign the necessary directives.
Democrats fought hard to assure that Pruitt wouldn't get the confirmation. A recent court case allowed for the release of a myriad of emails and documents from Pruitt's time as attorney general. However, Democrats couldn't get the information in front of Senate voters in time for the final vote. They made an attempt to delay the vote, which also failed. A letter drafted by EPA employees, and signed by about 800 former EPA staffers as part of the "Save the EPA" effort stated:
"Pruitt’s record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not share the vision or agree with the underlying principles of our environmental laws."
Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, pleaded:
"For years, all we heard from Republicans -- including Trump -- was e-mails, e-mails, e-mail. It’s not the worst thing in the world to take a few extra days to properly vet someone who will have immense power over our nation’s streams, skies -- even the lead levels in our homes, our schools and our water supply."
Democrats were sure to let Republicans know that they will be responsible for the future implications of this vote. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse added:
"Those who vote for this man will own this vote. This isn’t the end of the story. This is the beginning of the story."