Republican Senator Collins opposes Pruitt for U.S. EPA chief

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By Eric Beech | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins
of Maine said on Wednesday she would oppose Oklahoma Attorney
General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the Environmental
Protection Agency, citing his numerous lawsuits against the
agency.

Pruitt is scheduled to face a Senate confirmation vote on
Friday. Unless more Republicans join Collins in opposing Pruitt,
his nomination is likely to be approved. Republicans hold 52 of
the 100 seats in the chamber and Vice President Mike Pence could
cast the deciding vote in case of a tie.

“Due to my concerns about Mr. Pruitt’s commitment to the
mission of the EPA, I will cast my vote in opposition to his
confirmation,” Collins said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut regulation to revive
the oil, gas and coal industries, and has said he can do so
without compromising air and water quality.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved
Pruitt’s nomination two weeks ago after Democrats boycotted the
vote over concerns about Pruitt’s environmental record.

As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than
a dozen times on behalf of the oil-drilling state and he has
cast doubts on the science of climate change.

“His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether
his vision for the EPA is consistent with the agency’s critical
mission to protect human health and the environment,” Collins
said.

She said Pruitt had sued the EPA on issues of importance to
Maine, including mercury controls for coal-fired power plants
and efforts to reduce cross-state air pollution and greenhouse
gas emissions.

Conservative group FreedomWorks blasted Collins, who also
voted against the nomination last week of Education Secretary
Betsy DeVos.

FreedomWorks Chief Executive Adam Brandon said in a
statement it was “a shame” that Collins was again aligning
herself with “far-left Democrats and special interests.”



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