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The US Senate has approved President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, despite qualms from some Democratic lawmakers about how Mr Pruitt might lead an agency that he has clashed with in the past.

The Senate cleared Mr Pruitt by a vote of 52-46 on Friday afternoon.

Mr Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, has been catapulted from the US’s oil-producing heartland to the centre of global policymaking on climate change, stirring concern among some green groups about whether he might impede progress on cutting carbon emissions. While serving as attorney general, Mr Pruitt railed against the EPA – which he will now lead – for meddling in state affairs and helped lead the charge on a lawsuit that froze the centrepiece of Mr Obama’s climate policy.

During his confirmation hearing, Mr Pruitt vowed to weigh the economic impact of any environmental regulation. “Environmental regulations should not occur in an economic vacuum,” he told lawmakers.

The vote will be welcomed by Mr Trump, who yesterday complained during a lengthy press conference about the slow progress lawmakers have made on confirming his cabinet-level nominees.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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