President Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office and the Interior Department's top mining official were approved by the Senate Thursday after months of delays.
Joe Balash of Alaska was approved, 61-38, to serve as assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management. Susan Bodine, the nominee to lead the EPA's enforcement and compliance office, was approved by voice vote soon after.
Industry officials bemoaned that it took months of "needless delay" before Balash was finally given a vote. "A fully staffed Department of the Interior is critical to the business operation of western ranches, and we are pleased to see another critical position filled," said Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
The nomination of Bodine to serve as the head of the Trump EPA's enforcement arm was approved despite protests on the floor by Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Carper said Bodine is qualified for the post, but she has dragged her feet in responding to questions from the committee over key issues involving the oversight of the chemical industry.