Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) said Tuesday that Senate Democrats will do everything in their power to block Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt from being confirmed to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
President-elect Donald Trump selected Pruitt as his choice to run the EPA on Wednesday.
MSNBC host Craig Melvin asked Schatz whether he and other Democrats in the Senate had any intention to try and block Pruitt's nomination.
"We're going to do everything we can to block this nomination. This is not with any historical precedent," Schatz said. "Even under Republican administrations, George W. Bush, they didn't appoint the head of the EPA to dismantle the EPA."
As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt was a thorn in the side of the Obama administration's EPA, fighting the agency on issues relating to climate change and coal production. Trump suggested during the presidential campaign that he would be willing to significantly shrink or get rid of the EPA and the New York Times described Pruitt as being "the right man to do that."
Schatz vowed to try and hold up Pruitt's nomination, citing his views on climate change and his hostility towards the regulations implemented by the Obama administration.
"This is a four-alarm fire for the environmental community and for anybody who cares about clean air and clean water. We'll fight it with everything we've got," Schatz said.
MSNBC host Craig Melvin then asked Schatz if he would be willing to shutdown the government over Pruitt's nomination. Schatz noted that Democrats would be unable to do that because it is going to be a nomination process, not a government spending bill, which is usually what leads to government shutdowns.
Schatz told Melvin that he hopes Democrats will be able to convince enough Senate Republicans to join them in blocking Pruitt. As of now, with only 48 Democrats in the Senate, Democrats will be unable to block Pruitt's nomination without Republican support.