Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin praised President-elect Trump's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, saying he has the "right experience" for the job.
Manchin, who hails from West Virginia coal country, met with Trump's EPA pick, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, at his office on Capitol Hill. It was Pruitt's first meeting with a Democrat during a week-long series of visits with Senate Republicans ahead of what is expected to be a contentious confirmation process coming from opposite side of the aisle.
News of the meeting came from the Trump transition team directly in a joint statement. Most of his meetings with Republicans throughout the week came from the senators' offices.
"Attorney General Pruitt and I had a very productive conversation today about his plans for the Environmental Protection Agency and ways we can work together," Manchin said. "We both come from energy producing states and have a great deal in common," he added.
Manchin said Pruitt has committed himself to visiting West Virginia to work with him on addressing "clean water challenges" that have affected his state in recent years. "I believe the Attorney General has the right experience for the position and look forward to his confirmation process," he said.
Pruitt had good words for Manchin, as well. "Senator Manchin has long been a leader in advancing a balanced energy policy that both protects the environment and enables economic growth," he said. "We discussed the many ways the EPA can help the people and protect the natural environment of West Virginia and our nation."
Pruitt said that once confirmed he would work with both Manchin and his Republican counterpart from the Mountaineer State, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, to "find the right balance that works best for the people and the environment of their very special state." Pruitt met with Capito earlier this week.
Trump won West Virginia by promising to bring back coal jobs to the energy producing state. He would do that by repealing a number of EPA regulations that he blamed for harming the economic prosperity of fossil fuel-producing states.