Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, a fierce opponent of the Environment Protection Agency, was confirmed by the Senate Friday to head the EPA. Pruitt sued the EPA fourteen times on behalf of his polluting industry buddies during his career.
An Oklahoma district judge had just issued an order demanding Pruitt produce public records in response to nine requests submitted by The Center for Media and Democracy since 2015. The CMD director of research commented after the ruling, “Scott Pruitt broke the law and went to great lengths to avoid the questions many Americans have about his true motivations”. District Court Judge Aletia Timmons said there had been an “abject failure to provide prompt and reasonable access to documents requested”. The ruling came the day before Pruitt’s confirmation. Senate democrats failed to persuade the majority to wait on the confirmation until the records became available. Pruitt, who has close ties to the fossil fuels industry, released only a fraction of the 3,000 emails being sought.
The New York times reported that Pruitt failed to disclose that a letter he sent to the EPA, which accused the agency of overestimating the pollution coming from the state’s gas wells, was actually written lawyers for Devon Energy, a drilling company. In 2014, Pruitt was caught secretly colluding with oil and gas industry insiders scheming to destroy environmental protections. He also received massive campaign contributions from energy industry leaders.
In an unusual instance for civil servants, EPA employees actively protested this appointment. A phone campaign was organized to ask senators to reject this nominee. Trump’s pick of a climate change denier who campaigned against President Obama’s Clean Power Plan limiting carbon pollution is proof that he has every intention to follow through on his promises to dismantle the EPA.