Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is making the rounds on Capitol Hill, meeting with U.S. Senators and trying to get support for his nomination to take over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But he’s run into some opposition among some skeptical Democrats who don’t like his reputation of taking on the EPA regarding his claims of “overreach” by the giant agency.
A date of Jan. 18 has been set for his confirmation hearing to be held by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, now chaired by Sen. John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.) The reorganization of the new congress saw Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe surrender chairmanship but he is still a ranking Republican on the committee and will be among those questioning Pruitt.
Pruitt met Tuesday with Sen. John Cornyn and spent 40 minutes with the committee’s Senior Democrat, Sen., Ben Cardin, one of those skeptical of Trump’s nominee. Cardin says he still has “major concerns” after talking with Pruitt about the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, the Obama administration’s water rule and energy policy.
“These are troublesome issues and I must be candid, I don’t think today’s conversation alleviated my concerns,” said Cardin.
Another skeptic, Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware wants more information about the political groups that were affiliated with Pruitt.
“I want to more fully understand the PACS that are involved,” said Carper. “Who started them, who established them, who solicited funds for them for what purpose, where did the money come from.”
“Maybe once we have a understanding of that we’ll better know the actions Pruitt says he’s going to take are sufficient,” added Sen. Carper.
Pruitt is tied to a super PAC named Liberty 2.0 and with one named Oklahoma Strong Leadership. Both raised money from energy interests. The Attorney General has also shared his ethics agreement and financial disclosure form with the committee.
Pruitt continues to be in the bulls eye of environmental groups who are fighting his nomination. Environmental Defense Fund released a video this week and the group’s president, Elizabeth Thompson claimed it’s a first.
“EDF Action has never before opposed a candidate for EPA Administrator, but Mr. Pruitt’s record and principles are so dangerous we are strongly opposing his confirmation.”