A Delaware Democrat blasted President-elect Donald Trump’s EPA pick’s environmental record as Oklahoma attorney general Wednesday, but forgot that his own state’s history of fighting pollution is just as spotty.
Sen. Tom Carper criticized Scott Pruitt, Trump’s choice to run the EPA, during confirmation hearings over his state’s failing grades on high ozone days. The three counties he presides over did just as bad as the 17 counties in Pruitt’s state.
Carper laid into Pruitt’s stance on the issue, even though his office is not responsible for regulating Oklahoma’s ozone pollution — that’s the job of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Carper said that he would do something if his state’s environmental record were as poor as Pruitt’s.
“I’m not the Attorney General of Delaware, I’ve never had intention to be, but if 17 of our states, 17 of our counties in Delaware — we only have three — if 17 of them or all three of them got F, I promise you, I’d do something about it,” Carper told Pruitt during the hearing.
Carper may want to rethink his admonishment, because the three Delaware counties the senator represents — Kent, New Castle and Sussex — all received failing grades on keeping ozone days to a minimum. There are 17 counties in Oklahoma with failing grades, according to data accumulated by the American Lung Association.
Carper called on Democrats in December to stonewall Pruitt’s nomination, despite telling his Republican colleagues in 2014 that presidents of both parties deserve to pick whoever they want to fill their cabinets.
Senators have always debated the merits of presidential nominees, he said in 2014, but in the end, they usually get the team they want. Carper’s comments, which were made during the height of President Barack Obama’s second term, were meant to persuade his colleagues to avoid turning the confirmation process into a “game of executive branch Swiss cheese.”
He added: “The President, regardless of what party they are from, needs, for the most part, to have the team they want to put in place. They have been elected to lead. Let’s give them a chance to lead.”
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