18:10 GMT04 August 2020
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    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to end its adversarial approach and work in partnership with individual states on air and water quality, EPA Administrator-nominee Scott Pruitt told the US Senate in a contentious confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The news comes as the EPA has faced criticism from Republicans throughout the eight-year administration of outgoing President Barack Obama for unilaterally issuing regulations on water and air quality with little input from state environmental regulators or people affected.

    "Regional [EPA] administrators that we have across the country need to be seen as partners and not adversaries," Pruitt told the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. "Restoring that confidence, restoring that relationship… is very, very important in carrying out this partnership."

    As Attorney General in the Oklahoma, a US state rich in oil and gas deposits, Pruitt was criticized by Democratic lawmakers for having sued the EPA at least a dozen times.

    Democrats on the Committee also attacked Pruitt for his support of fossil fuel producers — a major employer in Oklahoma — often by cutting off Pruitt as he attempted to answer questions.

    Of President-elect Donald Trump’s nominations, Pruitt’s is among the most controversial. During Wednesday’s hearing, his eventual confirmation appeared likely to depend on a unified vote by the Senate’s slim 52-48 seat Republican majority.

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