Scott Pruitt confirmed to head EPA as union talks to PR firms about continued resistance
posted at 1:21 pm on February 17, 2017 by John Sexton
Scott Pruitt has been confirmed to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The final vote was 52-46 with two Democratic Senators, Manchin and Heitkamp, voting for him and one Republican, Sen. Collins, voting against him.
Meanwhile, the union that represents Environmental Protection Agency employees is planning to continue “the resistance” if Scott Pruitt is confirmed to lead the agency. The NY Times reported Thursday that the union was already urging employees to call their Senators to oppose Pruitt. However, given Democrats’ limited power to block nominees it seems likely Pruitt will be confirmed. At that point, the EPA union is considering hiring a PR firm to oppose him:
“I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve never called my senator about a nominee before,” said an E.P.A. employee in North Carolina who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of losing her job.
The calls to senators come on top of an anti-Pruitt protest last week by Chicago E.P.A. employees, and agency workers say that if Mr. Pruitt is confirmed, they intend to amplify their resistance to him, taking their case to the American public.
“At this point, it’s just, ‘call your senator,’” Mr. O’Grady, the union president, said. “We plan on more demonstrations, more rallies. I think you will see the employees’ union reaching out to N.G.O.s and having alliances with them,” he added, referring to nongovernmental organizations. “We’re looking at working with P.R. firms.”
Yesterday, a judge ruled that Pruitt must turn over thousands of emails. However, those emails won’t be released until Tuesday. Democrats hoping to find something in the emails that could be used to block Pruitt attempted to delay the final vote until February 27. Democrats held an all-night session last night to voice opposition to Pruitt, similar to what they did with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
NBC News reports Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider a delay saying, “If it wasn’t one thing it would be another.” He continued, “The effort has been to delay the nominations that they make controversial as long as possible in order to play into their left wing base which will not accept the results of the election.”
Politico reported earlier this month that a group of EPA employees was using encrypted communication to discuss ways to oppose President Trump.