Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA

He's previously expressed doubt regarding the science behind climate change and has sued the EPA 14 times in his tenure as AG of Oklahoma (a state which has, incidentally, suffered a string of earthquakes thanks to the oil industry). The only Democrats to vote for Pruitt were Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, widely seen as a vote due to their state's dependence on energy production.

But the effort did little but deprive Democrats of sleep.

But Democrats and climate activists lambasted Pruitt's confirmation, citing his deep ties to fossil fuel and oil companies and his skepticism on the human contribution to climate change as deeply troubling. The Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group, had asked the court to order the release of Pruitt's emails under the state's open records law.

As noted by the Times, Pruitt's correspondence has previously exposed unethical behaivor.

We now have a Senate-confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again.

Pruitt's office released more than 400 documents to CMD last Friday, after the lawsuit was filed, and one showed Pruitt's chief of staff coordinated "soft ball" questions on water regulations from Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe during a congressional hearing.

"If it wasn't one thing it would be another", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's just less likely that whatever is in them will influence his appointment. The emails must be released by Tuesday, after a two-year battle by Pruitt to keep them secret.

Numerous scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting - by a president who has vowed to "get rid of" it.

EPA lawyer Nicole Cantello, who's also the Chicago area union leader, told The New York Times, "It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what EPA has done".

The concentrations of some metals in the Gold King wastewater plume were higher than historical mine drainage, the EPA has said, but the agency says impacts on water quality were not as long lasting as some had feared. "As Oklahoma attorney general, he has done the opposite". Prior to the vote, only Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, said she'd vote against Pruitt.

Pruitt would still have enough votes to be confirmed if those senators vote as they say they will.

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

"Additionally, I was pleased that he committed to review EPA's decision to not process the personal injury and economic loss claims related to the Gold King Mine spill", he said. "Today's near party-line vote to confirm Pruitt marks a new low in the GOP's embrace of an aggressively anti-environment agenda that caters to virtually every polluting industry in America".