Jim Inhofe

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With no Democrats in the room, U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans in the Environment and Public Works Committee voted to suspend committee rules to defeat a two-day boycott by Democrats who say Pruitt is unfit to serve as the nation’s top environmental regulator.

Congressman Steve Russell / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have largely been supportive of President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel of certain foreign nationals to the United States.

Under the order, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would not be allowed to enter the United States for 90 days. Over the weekend, permanent resident visa holders were detained at airports, which led to protests across the country. The White House later said permanent resident visa holders are from those 7 countries will be allowed.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Wednesday faced hours of questioning at a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his qualifications to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The public vetting of president-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the federal government’s largest environmental regulator highlighted sharp and long-standing divisions between environmentalists and industry.

The six-hour hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee split largely along political lines.

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Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Barack Obama on Friday signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in the wee hours Saturday morning. The $10 billion federal bill directs money to Oklahoma to help fix and address multiple water-related problems and issues across the state.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say Oklahoma oil and gas regulators should “consider a moratorium” of waste-fluid disposal in its most seismically active areas.

The suggestion was made in the federal agency’s annual review of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s oversight of disposal wells, which Energy Wire’s Mike Soraghan obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request:

The oddest of Senate odd couples — California Democrat Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe — have accomplished something highly unusual in this bitter election year: significant, bipartisan legislation on the environment that has become law.

Boxer, a staunch liberal, calls climate change the "greatest challenge to hit the planet," battles against offshore drilling, rails about the dangers of nuclear power and has pushed to restrict greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

U.S. EMBASSY KYIV UKRAINE / FLICKR /CC BY-ND 2.0

A Republican senator is trying to relax the medical requirements for private pilots who fly small planes.

And that effort by Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is drawing complaints from Democrats who say he's going back on a compromise that became law only two months ago.

Inhofe is an avid, 81-year-old pilot who's had a quadruple heart bypass. He's trying to eliminate a requirement that pilots have a statement from their doctor saying they don't have a medical condition that would interfere with their ability to safely operate a plane.

U.S. EMBASSY KYIV UKRAINE / FLICKR /CC BY-ND 2.0

Oklahoma officials and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations spent 5 years hammering out a deal to share control of water across southeast Oklahoma, but coming to an agreement isn’t the end of the process. A fickle U.S. Congress still has to give its approval.

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