GOP senator ‘concerned’ about EPA pick's history of suing the agency

GOP senator ‘concerned’ about EPA pick's history of suing the agency

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump| Esper orders hundreds of active-duty troops outside DC sent home day after reversal | Iran releases US Navy veteran Michael White Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump GOP Sen. Murkowski 'struggling' with whether to vote for Trump MORE (R-Maine) is “concerned” about the number of lawsuits President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed against the agency he may soon run. 

Collins is the first Republican senator to come out publicly with concerns about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

“I am concerned, based on the meeting I had with Scott Pruitt, about the number of times he has sued the very agency that he has now been tapped to lead,” Collins told Maine Public.

Pruitt’s record of repeatedly suing the EPA during President Obama’s tenure is a sticking point for Democrats, who argue it shows that he opposes the agency’s core missions.

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He sued the Obama administration EPA 14 times to get regulations overturned and won a court decision in one case.

Pruitt and his Republican and industry allies see his record of litigation as a top qualification. In his official biography, he calls himself “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

Collins, meanwhile, takes a moderate position on environmental policy.

She is one of a small handful of Republican lawmakers who support policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and has voted to preserve Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is planning to vote Wednesday on confirming Pruitt. After that, the nomination would go to the full Senate for consideration.

Pruitt only needs 51 votes to be confirmed, and Republicans have a 52-seat majority in the Senate.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat to have spoken favorably of Pruitt, although he has not fully committed to voting for the EPA nominee.