Although newly approved EPA administrator Scott Pruitt told agency employees this week that it’s possible to be both pro-energy and pro-environment, critics say thousands of recently released emails show that Pruitt is firmly in the pro-energy camp.
The emails were released on Wednesday – less than a week after Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate. Democratic lawmakers attempted to delay his confirmation vote until the emails were made public but Republicans continued the process and Pruitt was confirmed by a 52-to-46 vote.
Liberal watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) had filed a lawsuit two years ago for the release of the emails between Pruitt – who was Oklahoma’s attorney general at the time – and oil and gas companies. The 7,000 pages worth of emails were released by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office just ahead of a deadline set by a federal judge.
Environmentalists protested Pruitt’s selection as EPA head, calling him a longtime opponent of the agency he was supposed to lead.
The emails reveal a close relationship between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies, particularly Devon Energy, a major oil and gas company based in Oklahoma City. The correspondence refers to numerous meetings and strategy sessions in which Pruitt and Devon joined forces to try and block federal pollution regulations. Devon employees even drafted letters for Pruitt to sign and send to federal agencies.
Click here to view the emails.
In his first speech to his EPA subordinates, Pruitt said there be a withdrawal from the regulatory approach of recent years. “We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment,” he said. “We don’t have to choose between the two.”