In a last-ditch effort to block the confirmation of President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency director nominee Scott Pruitt, EPA employees have resorted to calling their senators. Pruitt's confirmation vote is slated for Friday, and employees at the agency are growing increasingly worried about the possibility of a new boss who has vowed to "get rid of" the EPA and who sued the EPA "at least 14 times" while he was Oklahoma's attorney general, The New York Times reported. "It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what EPA has done. I don't know if there's any other agency that’s been so reviled," said EPA lawyer Nicole Cantello. "So it's in our interests to do this."
The bold and blatant effort is out of the ordinary, and perhaps unprecedented. "I've been here for 30 years, and I've never called my senator about a nominee before," an EPA employee in North Carolina told The New York Times. Former EPA employee Judith Enck said the rebellion reveals how desperate EPA employees are to block Pruitt. "EPA staff are pretty careful. They're risk-averse," Enck said. "If people are saying and doing things like this, it's because they're really concerned."
But the chances of Pruitt's confirmation being blocked are low, meaning things might be pretty awkward once Pruitt becomes these rebellious employees' new boss. A former EPA administrator under former President George W. Bush predicted "a blood bath when Pruitt gets in there." The New York Times noted that "within days" of Pruitt being sworn in, Trump will reportedly sign "one or more executive orders aimed at undoing" climate regulations imposed under the Obama administration.
However, Jeffrey Holmstead, a potential candidate for Pruitt's deputy, said concerns are overblown and the "organized effort to demonize Pruitt" is both "unfair and unfortunate." "We know that he'll dismantle Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule," Holmstead said, referring to two Obama-era regulations, "but he's not going to go in there and start firing people."
Read the full story over at The New York Times.