WASHINGTON— When President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first took office as Oklahoma's attorney general, he disbanded the unit responsible for protecting the state's natural resources. Instead, Scott Pruitt reassigned his staff to focus on filing lawsuits against the federal agency he's now selected to lead.
The 48-year-old Republican faces a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. Records also show that Pruitt failed to push a legal challenge initiated by his predecessor to protect Oklahoma's rivers from pollution caused by animal waste. He also took in nearly $38,000 in campaign contributions from individuals connected to the poultry companies involved in the lawsuit.
Pruitt's selection to lead EPA is being fiercely opposed by environmental groups that point to fundraising ties with corporations he has sued to protect.