Top Republican won't delay Senate vote on EPA pick

EPA vows to improve transparency removing 1 obstacle to Senate vote on new chief

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said Tuesday that he won't delay a Senate vote on President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency after securing a deal to boost transparency at the agency.

Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate environment panel, has been one of the biggest obstacles to Gina McCarthy's nomination. In May, he led a GOP boycott that delayed a critical vote to advance her bid. She eventually cleared the panel solely on votes from Democrats.

But Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri is still threatening to block a vote on McCarthy, who now leads the agency's air pollution office over delays on a flood control project.

In a letter to Vitter Tuesday, the EPA agreed to obtain data used in its air pollution studies and convene an expert panel to review how it estimates the costs and benefits of pollution rules.

It will also publish online efforts, including legal notices, by outside groups to influence the timing of regulations.

"I see no further reason to block Gina McCarthy's nomination, and I'll support moving to an up-or-down vote on her nomination," Vitter said in a statement.

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