by Susan Sharon
Maine Public news story
LEWISTON, Maine – Independent Maine Sen. Angus King says he will vote against President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
In an interview with Maine Public Radio, Sen. King said he sat through Pruitt’s confirmation hearings yesterday as an audience member, did some additional research and came to the conclusion that the Oklahoma Attorney General’s anti-regulatory positions are to the point of “undermining the fundamental mission of the agency.”
King says there’s no record that he can find of Pruitt being “affirmative and strong” in terms of enforcing environmental laws as attorney general. In addition Pruitt has filed suit against the EPA 14 times, opposed the Clean Power Plan, disputed the Clean Air Act’s authority and opposed rules that require coal-fired power plants to cut their mercury emissions by 90 percent.
During his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, Pruitt was grilled over a series of letters he sent to federal agencies on state stationery that were drafted, almost word for word, by energy lobbyists. King says that bothers him.
“In fact, this morning I went back and read one of those letters that was drafted entirely by an energy company,” King said. “Out of a thousand words, I think he changed 37, and most of them were pretty consequential.”
Pruitt did back away slightly from previous statements he’s made about climate change. He told the committee that “scientists tell us the climate is changing” and human activity has some bearing on that.
But King calls that a “lukewarm statement” and says many of President-elect Trump’s nominees are using similar language that sounds like a scripted, planned response.
For these reasons King says he’ll vote against Mr. Pruitt. “I just can’t, in good conscience, as somebody who’s taken seriously environmental protection all my life, approve the appointment of someone who is so manifestly opposed to the mission of the agency,” King said.