WASHINGTON (CN) – Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general and self-described “advocate against the EPA,” will make his case Wednesday for confirmation as head of the agency he has often decried and sued 13 times.
Pruitt is scheduled to appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at 10 A.M., just one of a simultaneous flurry of confirmation hearings slated for various locations within the Capitol building.
President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial pick is expected to meet fierce questioning by senators, given his public track record of climate science denial and criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency itself.
Pruitt co-authored an article with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in the National Review last year in which he wrote that the climate debate is “far from settled.”
The Oklahoma attorney general wrote in the piece that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connections to the actions of mankind.”
The degree and extent of interrogation Pruitt will receive on Wednesday is also expected to include questioning about his various potential conflicts of interest.
A 2014 investigation by The New York Times revealed that Pruitt has a cozy history with the fossil fuel industry.
It uncovered what the Times investigative team described as Pruitt’s unprecedented secretive alliance with energy company heads and fellow Republican attorneys general.
The Times also revealed a letter Pruitt once submitted to the EPA criticizing the agency’s emissions estimates on drilling sites in his home state.
Notably, Pruitt also added his name to the list of attorneys general who sued the Obama administration over regulatory aspects found in the Clean Power Plan.
The plan, according to the EPA, was predicted to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Pruitt saw it instead as an effort by President Barack Obama to extend federal overreach.
Climate science critics and full-blown climate change deniers lauded Pruitt’s move against the agency. In December, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott commended the president-elect’s pick for EPA head, saying it proved that Trump is serious about creating jobs and rolling back what the governor described as the burdensome regulations implemented by the Obama administration. “Scott and I sued the EPA on several occasions as it continually ignored the Constitution and sought to implement rules, fees and regulations without congressional oversight or approval,” Abbott said in a statement.
Though democrats, who usually air on the side of supporting environmental protection efforts, are expected to grill Pruitt on his controversial history, he could have a friend in fellow Oklahoman Sen. James Inhofe.
Inhofe, a Republican, chairs the committee Pruitt will appear before and has openly lauded Pruitt’s efforts to combat regulations.
“Pruitt has fought back against the unconstitutional and overzealous environmental regulations. He has proven that being a good steward of the environment does not mean burdening taxpayers and businesses with red tape,” Inhofe said in a December statement.