Congressional Democrats called for a delay on Pruitt's confirmation after a state judge in Oklahoma ordered Pruitt to release emails between him and energy industry executives.
Pruitt served six years as Oklahoma's attorney general and was closely aligned with oil and gas companies in his home state, whose executives backed his political campaigns.
Those comments did not convince Democrats, who pointed out Pruitt's past cooperation with the fossil fuel industry on legal challenges and questioned his skepticism of mainstream climate science.
Pruitt was confirmed despite protests from Democrats, who demanded his confirmation be delayed after a judge on Thursday issued an order to force Pruitt to release thousands of documents that show his communications with the oil industry. Pruitt also said he would look to EPA counsel on whether he must recuse himself from lawsuits he still has pending against the EPA. However, in his Senate confirmation hearings, he said "human activity in some manner" affects climate change. "He will return the EPA to its core mission of protecting public and environmental health while balancing economic impact".
Should Pruitt be confirmed, it would be hard to fire those workers who opposed him due to Civil Service protections, meaning there could be a lot of internal dissension against actions Pruitt aims to take, like dismantling the Clean Power Plan. David McKinley and Evan Jenkins of West Virginia and Bill Johnson of OH attended a signing ceremony by Trump where he signed the resolution passed under the Congressional Review Act to block the stream protection rule finalized in December, one of the last acts by President Barack Obama. Pruitt is one of President Donald Trump's more controversial cabinet nominees - like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions - mostly because he has spent the last six years suing the EPA ... He needs only a simple majority of 51 votes, and Republicans hold 52 seats. "Attorney General Pruitt is a common sense guy", says Blunt. Employees at the agency launched an unprecedented revolt ahead of the vote, reportedly calling senators' offices to block Pruitt's confirmation, while more than 700 former officials wrote letters to Congress. Democrats, too, stepped up the pressure on their Republican colleagues.
An Oklahoma court this week ruled Pruitt will have to turn over 3,000 emails between his office and energy companies by Tuesday after a watchdog group, the Center for Media and Democracy, sued for their release. They are are elected to represent their constituents' best interests, but instead voted to protect corporate greed.