- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday evening she’ll vote against Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the first Republican senator to announce opposition to President Trump’s choice for the department.

In an interview with Maine Public Radio, Ms. Collins — who previously voted against Betsy DeVos to lead the Education Department and signaled she’d likely vote against Andrew Puzder for Labor secretary before he withdrew earlier this week — said she believes Mr. Pruitt simply isn’t fit to lead the EPA.

She said the Oklahoma attorney general is an accomplished legal mind who may be qualified for other government posts, but not head of an agency he’s actively fought in court over the better part of the last eight years.

“Specifically, I have significant concerns that Mr. Pruitt has actively opposed and sued the EPA on numerous issues that are of great importance to the state of Maine, including mercury controls for coal-fired power plants and efforts to reduce cross-state air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” Ms. Collins said. “His actions leave me with considerable doubts about whether his vision for the EPA is consistent with the agency’s critical mission to protect human health and the environment.”

The Republicans have a slim 52-to-48 majority in the Senate, making each vote crucial. Vice President Mike Pence was forced to cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of Ms. DeVos earlier this month when Ms. Collins and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced their opposition.

The Senate is expected to move ahead with Mr. Pruitt’s nomination this week.

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