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Donald Trump Will Name Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt To Lead EPA

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[File photo] [File photo]

President-elect Donald Trump will name Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a source familiar with the Trump transition confirmed to CBS News.

If confirmed by the Senate, Pruitt, known for his strong opposition to the Obama administration’s environmental regulations, could oversee the rollback of President Obama’s climate protection measures.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has sued the Obama administration over the climate rules for power plants.

Pruitt has also questioned the idea that humans bear any responsibility for global warming -- a position that goes against widespread scientific consensus.

In one National Review op-ed he co-wrote with Alabama’s attorney general, Pruitt said this of climate change: “Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

At least one Democratic senator has already weighed in on Pruitt’s potential leadership of the EPA.

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii said Wednesday he could not support Pruitt because he is a “denier of climate science.”

“The EPA has the enormous responsibility of protecting our environment and keeping Americans safe and healthy. Its administrator should share those goals, but Scott Pruitt’s record has shown us that he does not,” Schatz said in a statement. “The health of our planet and our people is too important to leave in the hands of someone who does not believe in scientific facts or the basic mission of the EPA.”

Pruitt met with Mr. Trump for the second time Wednesday at Trump Tower in New York.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will appoint a replacement for Pruitt, who will serve out the remainder of the term. 

CBS News’ Sopan Deb contributed to this report.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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