Donald Trump’s controversial nominee has been sworn in to lead the US environmental department.
Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said to be a climate change sceptic, won the Republican-controlled Senate vote to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Senate voted in favour of Mr Pruitt by 52 to 46.
The news comes despite calls from Democrats to delay the vote until requested emails he exchanged with oil and gas executives are released.
Mr Pruitt is said to have worked closely with the fossil fuel industry and been part of legal action by 24 states against the EPA to stop Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, one of the former president’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA states the new chief’s overarching goal is to lead the department “in a way so that our future generations inherit a better and healthier environment as he works with thousands of dedicated public servants at EPA who have devoted their careers to helping realise this shared vision, while faithfully administering environmental laws”.
John Walke, Clean Air Director and Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tweeted: “New EPA Administrator Pruitt will prioritise deregulation – for clean water, climate change measures, likely clean air too.”
He also believes Mr Pruitt will devote “less attention to core EPA mission”.