Scott Pruitt will take the helm at the Environmental Protection Agency this week facing questions about his relationship with fossil fuels companies and a workforce that, at least in part, seems skeptical about his plans for the agency.
The former Oklahoma attorney general, who made his political mark by routinely challenging Obama-era EPA regulations in court, won confirmation to the post Friday, overcoming intense opposition from Democrats who sought to push the vote until later this month. It was a key win for President Trump, who has struggled to get many of his Cabinet nominees through the Senate, and for conservative critics of the EPA eager to see Mr. Pruitt roll back many of the climate change policies put in place over the past eight years.
But Mr. Pruitt’s tenure already is off to a rocky start. Some employees have publicly spoken out against their new boss, with one EPA lawyer telling The New York Times last week that it appears Mr. Trump and Mr. Pruitt are undertaking a “complete reversal” of decades of agency policy.
Mr. Pruitt will address the EPA workforce in a highly anticipated speech Tuesday afternoon. In his remarks he’s likely to lay out his vision for the agency, which includes rolling back the Clean Power Plan — a set of limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants — and a host of other regulations.
Tuesday’s event, however, potentially could be overshadowed by a trove of emails set to be released the same day. An Oklahoma judge last week ordered Mr. Pruitt to turn over by Tuesday nearly 3,000 emails involving his communications with the oil-and-gas sector.
Democrats argue those documents will show collusion with fossil fuels companies, and they urged Republican leaders in the Senate to delay his confirmation vote until the emails were made public.