Scott Pruitt confirmed to lead EPA - | WBTV Charlotte

Scott Pruitt confirmed to lead EPA

Scott Pruitt has been confirmed by the Senate. (Source: OK AG site) Scott Pruitt has been confirmed by the Senate. (Source: OK AG site)

(RNN) - Despite the objection of Senate Democrats, Scott Pruitt has been confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

He was officially sworn in Friday afternoon. 

Congressional Democrats called for a delay on Pruitt's confirmation after a state judge in Oklahoma ordered Pruitt to release emails between him and energy industry executives. The former attorney general allegedly exchanged thousands of emails with business leaders in oil and gas.

They ultimately failed to hold up the process. He passed through the Senate 54-46. Republican Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, voted against Pruitt, but he received crossover support from Democrats Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-ND, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV.

Pruitt is expected to work more collaboratively with industries that previous administrations have sparred with.

A longtime opponent of the EPA, he questioned the ability to precisely measure the impact of human activity on climate change and, as Oklahoma's top law-enforcement official, he filed 14 lawsuits against the EPA, which is charged with protecting America's air and water.

On his state site, Pruitt, Oklahoma's attorney general since 2011, described himself as "a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda." In the Sooner State, Pruitt also fought against the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights and gay marriage.

A Kentucky native, he attended the University of Tulsa law school. Before becoming the attorney general, he served eight years as an Oklahoma state senator.

Supporters for Pruitt's nomination include conservative advocacy groups and Republicans who say the EPA's engaging in regulatory overreach burdens industry. 

Critics include environmental activists, conservation groups, and mainstream and progressive Democrats.

"Pruitt is outside the mainstream in his actions and views when it comes to protecting our air and water, stopping the worst impacts of climate change, and keeping our families healthy," Emma Spett of Environment Colorado and Jerry Tinianow, Denver's chief sustainability officer, wrote in The Denver Post

As part of what they call a pro-business platform, Trump and his fellow Republican candidates pledged to alter the agency if elected to the White House. The billionaire seems poised to fulfill that promise with Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry guiding U.S. environmental and energy policy.

Trump said he believes regulations have stifled American job growth and hindered the use of the country's natural resources. On the campaign trail, he frequently stumped about the use of  "clean coal" in the U.S., capitalizing on his opponent Hillary Clinton's much-publicized statement on putting "a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

He recently fast-tracked the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project protested by environmental activists and Native Americans, after the previous administration denied a key permit to continue the project.

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