On eve of confirmation vote, judge orders release of Pruitt emails

Center for Media and Democracy attorney Robert Nelon center outside a courtroom in Oklahoma City

The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator in a 52-46 vote. On Thursday, an Oklahoma judge ordered Pruitt's office to release approximately 3,000 e-mails related to his past communications as attorney general with fossil-fuel companies, with whom he worked closely to sue the E.P.A. on 14 separate occasions.

Since his nomination, Pruitt has attracted condemnation from environmentalists and Democrats for suing the EPA multiple times and questioning the science behind climate change.

Trump's nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is likely to pass the vote, which is scheduled for 1 pm EST (1800 GMT) on Friday, with the support of almost all the Republicans in the Republican-controlled Senate. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the lone Republican to vote against his confirmation, while North Dakota Sen. Pruitt also said he would look to EPA counsel on whether he must recuse himself from lawsuits he still has pending against the EPA. "And, as someone with state government experience, he understands the real-world consequences of EPA actions and knows that balance is the key to making policies that are sustainable over the long-term".

The Senate's confirmation of Pruitt as the head of EPA all but settles questions as to whether Trump would pursue the climate-change-as-Chinese-hoax ideas he propounded during the presidential campaign once he arrived at the White House. Legal constraints bar Pruitt from simply firing any EPA employee who is genuinely committed to environmental protection. Susan Collins of ME, voted against him. Sen. A former Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt is perhaps most noteworthy as a committed opponent of past EPA efforts to limit the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.

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When asked why he declined to delay the Pruitt vote, McConnell told reporters, "Because I choose not to". "Attorney General Pruitt is a common sense guy", says Blunt.

Pruitt argued during his confirmation hearing that he wasn't against environmental quality standards - he just thinks that they are better enforced on the state level.

President trump standing firm on his pick.

After Friday's vote, the Republican chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works - John Barrasso, R-Wyoming - attend a high-dollar fundraiser hosted by energy lobbyists at a Capitol Hill steakhouse, the Intercept reported. Environmental activists are upset that the vote was allowed to happen before next week's public release of emails between Pruitt and energy company executives. Democrats hoping to find something in the emails that could be used to block Pruitt attempted to delay the final vote until February 27.

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