In a rare move, employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are calling on their senators to reject President Trump’s pick to lead the very agency for which they work.
They are referring to Scott Pruitt, the current attorney general of Oklahoma, who has used his post to sue the EPA over twelve times. His positions are alarming to many of the employees inside the agency, who are concerned that if he is allowed to lead the agency, he will work systematically to dismantle its work, and perhaps the agency itself.
Pruitt is one of a number of Trump Cabinet picks who have in the past attacked or called for the outright dismantling of the very departments of which the President is asking them to lead.
“Mr. Pruitt’s background speaks for itself, and it comes on top of what the president wants to do to EPA,” John O’Grady, a longtime EPA employee and the president of the union representing its works said to the New York Times.
However, any effort to block Pruitt’s confirmation is an uphill battle to say the least. While Republican Senator Susan Collins has said that she will oppose Pruitt’s nomination, and John McCain will not be present to vote, Democrats would need at least two Republicans to vote against the nomination, assuming that all Democratic senators vote against it as well.
But the task is even more complicated by the fact that two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, have signaled that they will vote in favor of the nomination. Both Manchin and Heitkamp are in a difficult position considering the fact that they come from deeply red states with constituencies who are not exactly fans of the EPA in light of the difficulties which environmental regulations place on some of their key industries.
At present, it appears that Pruitt will get the vote of at least 52 senators.
Still, the unusual move by civil servants does have significance even if Pruitt is approved, as it signals that Pruitt will face stiff pushback from his own employees.