Reed: EPA nominee shows Trump seeks to undercut agency

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s senior Senator said Monday he plans to vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

At a meeting in Providence on Monday, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed spoke out against Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator, saying he believes Pruitt “will significantly weaken clean air and clean water standards.”

Reed met with local environmental leaders at the Save the Bay’s headquarters to discuss how to protect and restore the environment in Rhode Island.

“The Pruitt nomination suggests that the president is determined to undercut EPA,” Reed said.

Pruitt currently serves as the Attorney General of Oklahoma.

According to Reed’s office, Pruitt has sued the EPA on multiple occasions in efforts to lower environmental regulations for oil companies.

Reed also voiced concern over the actions Trump has taken in regards to the environment. The president’s administration prevents EPA scientists from discussing climate change, said Reed’s office, and plans to cut the agency’s budget by as much as $1 billion.

Reed serves as a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior & Environment. The group oversees federal funding for the EPA.

In the meantime, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch also awaits approval from the Senate.

Neither Reed nor U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse have said how they plan to vote on Gorsuch.

“He seems to lean in favor of corporate interests against individual interests, in the reviews of his decisions I’ve read,” Whitehouse commented. “A lot, I think, is going to depend on whether Judge Gorsuch looks like he’s going to create another five-judge gang that goes on a spree.”