In an unusual show of opposition for federal employees, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers have been calling their senators to urge them to reject President Trump’s pick to lead their agency, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, has sued the EPA more than a dozen times in his current post, alarming many of the agency’s employees, who fear that, if confirmed, he will work to dismantle its progress.
On the campaign trail, Trump railed against the environmental agency, calling it a “disgrace” and vowing to undo federal environmental rules and regulations.
Still, the effort to rally the opposition of enough senators to reject Pruitt during his confirmation vote on Friday is a long shot. Only one GOP senator, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (Maine), has said she will vote against Trump’s EPA pick. And Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) have both said they will support Pruitt.
Even with the expected absence of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBiden falters in pledge to strengthen US alliances 20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home MORE (R-Ariz.), who is set to attend a security conference in Germany on Friday, Pruitt will likely win the support of 52 senators, securing confirmation.
It is unusual for civil servants, such as EPA employees, to so actively oppose a Cabinet nominee. What is more, the Times reports, the move signifies that Pruitt will likely face strong pushback from his own employees once he takes office.
“What it means is that it’s going to be a blood bath when Pruitt gets in there,” former New Jersey Gov. and past EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman (R) told the Times.