Senate Moves EPA Nominee Closer to Approval

Scott Pruitt at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump’s controversial choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has cleared a key hurdle in the Republican-led Senate.

The Senate has given an initial green light to the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney Gen. Scott Pruitt on a 54-46 vote. Pruitt won unanimous GOP support on Thursday’s procedural tally, but Maine Republican Susan Collins says she’ll oppose him in the final confirmation vote.

Pruitt is strongly opposed by environmental activists and by almost every Democrat. Collins says she doesn’t trust him to protect human health and the environment.

Pruitt has sued the EPA numerous times to try to overturn Obama administration regulations.

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware gave an uncharacteristically impassioned speech lambasting Pruitt, saying he is a threat to the environment and a global warming skeptic.