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Committee Vote on EPA Chief Delayed

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A boycott Wednesday led the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to delay a vote on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The committee’s 10 Democrats did not attend the meeting, saying they are “deeply concerned” about a lack of thoroughness of Pruitt’s responses to their questions. Pruitt has fielded more than 1,200 questions for the committee, but the committee’s Democrats said Pruitt still has not provided a number of documents requested about his time as Attorney General of Oklahoma.

As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt was engaged in lawsuits against the EPA, including one over the EPA Waters of the U.S. rule. While the committee’s Republicans ridiculed their counterparts, Republicans held a similar boycott during the Barack Obama administration over then EPA Administrator nominee Gina McCarthy.

In a related development, a U.S. Representative from Florida emailed details to other lawmakers this week regarding a draft bill to “completely abolish” the Environmental Protection Agency. Florida Republican Matt Gaetz sent the email to potential co-sponsors of the bill which would shut down the EPA by the end of next year. The email was obtained by the media and tells potential co-sponsors: “It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

While transition officials with the Donald Trump administration are signaling massive budget and employee cuts to the agency, Gaetz says Americans are “drowning in rules and regulations” from the EPA and says the agency needs “eliminating.” The legislation would turn over responsibilities held by the EPA to state and local government partners.The bill, however, is not seen as a serious threat to the EPA.

Source: NAFB News Service