Emails: EPA’s Pruitt cozy with fossil-fuel industry
While serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt coordinated closely with fossil-fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions, newly released emails show.
More than 7,500 pages were released under court order Tuesday evening after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding his correspondence, which is public record under state law, for the last two years.
Pruitt’s office was forced to release the emails after he was sued by the Center for Media and Democracy, a left-leaning advocacy group. Other emails are still being held back pending further review by the judge.
The Republican-dominated Senate voted Friday to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick to lead EPA. Democrats had sought to delay the vote on Pruitt’s confirmation until the requested emails were released, but Republican leaders used their slim majority to push Pruitt through.
The emails show Pruitt and his staff coordinating their legal strategy with oil and gas industry executives and conservative advocacy groups funded by those profiting from fossil fuels, including the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. While serving as Oklahoma’s elected state lawyer for the last six years, Pruitt sued federal agencies more than a dozen times to challenge stricter environmental regulations.
Environmentalists cited Pruitt’s close ties to the fossil- fuel industry in opposing his nomination. Like Trump, Pruitt has questioned the validity of scientific studies showing the Earth is warming and that carbon emissions from human activity are the primary cause. As attorney general, Pruitt’s office joined a GOP-led multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s plan to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants.