Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin called President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the EPA the right guy to fill the job.
The West Virginia senator met with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who Trump pegged to run the agency, at his office in Washington, D.C. It was Pruitt’s first meeting with a Democrat leading up to what is expected to be a bruising confirmation process.
“Attorney General Pruitt and I had a very productive conversation today about his plans for the Environmental Protection Agency and ways we can work together,” Manchin said after the meeting. “We both come from energy producing states and have a great deal in common.”
The Oklahoma Republican praised Manchin as well, noting that he looks forward to working with coal country to find “the right balance that works best for the people and the environment of their very special state.”
Pruitt added: “Senator Manchin has long been a leader in advancing a balanced energy policy that both protects the environment and enables economic growth. We discussed the many ways the EPA can help the people and protect the natural environment of West Virginia and our nation.”
Trump made revitalizing coal country a central part of his presidential campaign. The pro-coal message likely helped him gain votes in West Virginia and other electoral battleground states for Republicans.
Trump’s transition team made limiting the EPA’s size and scope a crucial cog during the transition period.
The agency will be dialed back to focus solely on pollutants posing harm to public health and will cease its present extracurricular focus on agenda-centered pollutants supposedly causing man-made global warming, Kathleen Hartnett-White, a member of Trump’s transition team, told reporters in November.
“He’s very much for clean air and clean water,” she said. “But the better home for considering this discussion about carbon dioxide and climate is in the Department of Energy.”
The Obama administration has “used the legal rubrics of the Clean Air Act really to pursue a low-carbon energy policy and really not to further environmental protection,” she said.
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