Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt made his first speech as head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday, to employees at the EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate last Friday by a vote of 52-46.
“I’m dedicated to working w/stakeholders – industry, farmers, ranchers, business owners – on traditional values of environmental stewardship,” Pruitt said in a tweet after being confirmed.
I look forward to working with the dedicated employees on our shared vision to protect our environment for future generations.
— Administrator Pruitt (@EPAScottPruitt) February 17, 2017
Environmental groups strongly opposed Pruitt’s nomination. In six years as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt filed 14 lawsuits challenging EPA regulations that included limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He also sued over the EPA’s recent expansion of water bodies regulated under the Clean Water Act, a federal measure opposed by industries that would be forced to clean up polluted wastewater.
Others, like U.S. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), think Pruitt “is the leader America needs at the EPA. He understands that we can protect our environment with common sense policies that don’t attack job creators and send thousands of workers,” he said in a statement last week.
Pruitt told the Wall Street Journal last week that he would focus on “working cooperatively with the states to improve water and air quality.”