AUGUSTA, Maine — Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, will vote against President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
The nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, testified in confirmation hearings Wednesday in Washington, D.C., which King said helped solidify his opposing vote. King said in an interview with Maine Public, which King’s staff circulated to the media, that Pruitt’s anti-regulatory positions risk “undermining the fundamental mission of the agency.”
King said he fears Pruitt, who has sued the EPA 14 times, would dismantle ongoing clean power and air initiatives and be too beholden to energy sector lobbyists.
“I just can’t, in good conscience, as somebody who’s taken seriously environmental protection all my life, approve the appointment of someone who is so manifestly opposed to the mission of the agency,” King said.
Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins remains undecided about Pruitt, according to spokeswoman Annie Clark.
“Sen. Collins met with Scott Pruitt earlier this month and discussed with him many important environmental issues about which she cares deeply,” said Clark in an email. “This weekend she will begin to review his testimony from his confirmation hearing yesterday.”
Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, which means that members of Pruitt’s party would have to join King and Democrats in voting against him to block his nomination.