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.
Pruitt, who was serving as the Attorney General of Oklahoma, has always been an opponent of federal environmental regulation, and has sued the EPA several times in his role as the Sooner State's AG.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a press conference that he asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vote on another nominee today instead, which would delay the Pruitt vote but not stall the overall Cabinet confirmation process. Two Democrats, Joe Manchin III and Heidi Heitkamp, both from states that rely heavily on coal-West Virginia and North Dakota, respectively-went the other way and voted for him.
For his part, Mr Pruitt has said he intends to return the agency to its central mission of protecting the quality of the nation's air and water while respecting the role of states as primary enforcers of environmental laws.
It's clear that Scott Pruitt's position as the head of the EPA will make things easier for the fossil fuel industry, which, to be fair, will be good for the short term and millions in the United States looking for work.
The Democratic minority talked all night (again) but, while they were talking, a judge in Oklahoma dialed the absurdity of Pruitt's nomination up to 11, as Inside Climate News reports. Republican Susan Collins (Maine), meanwhile, was the only Republican to vote against Pruitt. According to the BBC, Pruitt's appointment is a bit unusual, due to the fact that he has "spent years fighting" the EPA, which he just so happens to now lead.
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In the meantime, Mr. Pruitt should also recuse himself from the eight active cases in which he is suing EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general; this will help address the obvious conflicts of interest here.
Environmental groups had launched a media campaign to block Pruitt's confirmation, saying they believed Pruitt would gut the administration.
"This development really requires a delay in this vote", Sen.
In their defense, it is hard to imagine what in Pruitt's private correspondence could be more disqualifying - or, from the GOP's perspective, more commendable - than the attorney general's long record of fighting to increase water pollution and accelerate climate change. He passed through the Senate 54-46. "Attorney General Pruitt is a common sense guy", says Blunt.
But the Senate declined to (or, perhaps, purposely did not) wait for those emails to vote on the Pruitt nomination.
But Democrats were unable to get the confirmation vote delayed, as they wished, until after the documents in the Oklahoma case are released and they can read them.