WASHINGTON – West Virginia leaders are hailing the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt, formerly Oklahoma’s attorney general, was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 17 with a 52-46 vote. He replaces Gina McCarthy.

“I sincerely believe West Virginia will have a friend in Scott Pruitt,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. “Scott’s principled approach will respect the law and reinforce the EPA’s core mission to protect our air and water without unconstitutional and job killing overreach, which has brought tremendous harm to West Virginia during the past eight years.”

When he was Oklahoma’s AG, Pruitt often worked with Morrisey to help take down the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, New Source Performance Standards, the Waters of the United States rule and regulations targeting oil and gas jobs.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito praised Pruitt as well.

“Attorney General Pruitt is the most thoroughly vetted nominee for administrator in the history of the EPA,” the Republican said. “He embodies the leadership we need to restore accountability to the agency. He will return the EPA to its core mission of protecting public and environmental health while balancing economic impact.

“I know he will be an excellent partner to West Virginia as the next administrator of the EPA.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said he hopes to work with Pruitt to help West Virginia. He was one of two Democrats who voted for Pruitt.

“As a former Governor, I understand how crucial it is for an executive leader to have the chance to put his team in place,” Manchin, a Democrat, said. “Every West Virginian wants clean air and clean water and I intend to be vigilant in working with Administrator Pruitt to ensure that our fundamental environmental protections are implemented in a sound and effective way.

“I believe that the economy and the environment can be balanced and work in harmony. Pruitt knows that I believe it is important that the EPA is working with states like West Virginia not against us.”

U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins said Pruitt’s confirmation is good news for the Mountain State.

“For eight years, the previous administration used the EPA to wage a war on West Virginia, using rules and regulations to shut down coal mines and kill coal jobs,” Jenkins, a Republican said. “Scott Pruitt will lead this agency in a new direction – one that maintains vital environmental protections while eliminating costly, anti-job regulations.

“I look forward to working with Secretary Pruitt and know he will be a friend to West Virginia.”

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Office of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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