450 former employees of the Environmental Protection agency have penned a letter demanding Congress to block Pruitt’s nomination as head of the EPA.
A perfect excerpt from the letter echoes what many of us feel:
“Mr. Pruitt’s record and public statements strongly suggest that he does not share the vision or agree with the underlying principles of our environmental laws. Mr. Pruitt has shown no interest in enforcing environmental laws, a critically important function for EPA. While serving as Oklahoma’s top law enforcement officer, Mr. Pruitt issued more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn EPA standards to limit mercury emissions from power plants, reduce smog levels in cities and regional haze in parks, clean up the Chesapeake Bay and control greenhouse gas emissions.”
Read the full article here.
Additionally, hundreds of current EPA employees protested in Chicago this past week to show their disappointment in Trump’s choice:
— AFGE Local 704 (@704afge) February 6, 2017
Now it seems that Pruitt is facing a new lawsuit brought against him by the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy. The Center believes that the lawsuit will help create transparency regarding Pruitt’s ties to the oil and gas industry:
Robert Nelon, who is representing the Center for Media and Democracy, states:
“Scott Pruitt has withheld access to thousands of emails with businesses or organizations whose activities adversely affect the environment and other records of vital public interest for the past two years. His inaction denies the public ‘prompt and reasonable’ access to public documents and violates Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.”
If the suit succeeds, more than 3,000 emails and other correspondence between Pruitt, his staff, and oil and gas companies will be revealed.
According to Oklahoma’s Open Records Act, agencies “must provide prompt, reasonable access to its records, but may establish reasonable procedures which protect the integrity and organization of its records and to prevent excessive disruptions of its essential functions.” However, the Center for Media and Democracy has been requesting access to the correspondence since January 2015 and has so far received no response.
Politicians have had no better luck getting answers from Pruitt regarding his business dealings either. Democrats walked out of proceedings last week when Pruitt refused to adequately answer their questions. Pruitt has also gone on record telling senators to make a formal public records request if they want more information on his dealings with oil and gas companies. According to this new lawsuit, making a public records request doesn’t seem to be timely.
The Center for Media and Democracy has asked the judge for an emergency hearing immediately to try and move forward before Pruitt’s floor vote.
Pruitt has a history of suing the EPA, is a strong supporter of federalism, which would allow states to determine environmental protections locally, and as Oklahoma attorney general made no move to address pollution or environmental justice for the state.