Sept. 11, 2017 — On Sept. 1, the White House officially announced David Ross, currently the director of the Environmental Protection Unit at Wisconsin's Department of Justice, as the nominee to run EPA's Office of Water.
Before heading to Wisconsin last year, Ross worked in the Wyoming Attorney General's office on a 13-state lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. He also spent more than a decade in private practice and was part of the team that represented the American Farm Bureau Federation in its challenge to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan- and represented agricultural groups and fertilizer companies in litigation brought by environmental groups in a bid to force stricter pollution limits in the Mississippi River basin. (PoliticoPRO 7/27/2017)
Senate Democrats may delay the confirmation of the Trump administration's pick to lead the EPA's Office of Water in response to a dispute with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, stated that Pruitt has refused to fully respond to nearly two-dozen letters he has sent since Pruitt's confirmation earlier this year.
Carper said he wants his committee to stop consideration of any EPA nominees until the EPA provides Democrats with answers to their questions. This could make it more difficult for the Trump administration to confirm David Ross, as well as several others.
However, Democrats can only delay, not block, Ross's nomination. A recent rule change in the Senate no longer allows the minority party to filibuster executive branch nominees, allowing Republicans to confirm these nominations with their 52 seat majority in the Senate. (Bloomberg BNA, 9/5/17)