Scott Pruitt's EPA Prevented A Major Water Pollution Study From Being Published

18 May, 2018, 13:42 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Air pollution statistics cartoon

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Wednesday that he didn't recall asking that lights and sirens be used on his motorcade so he could get through Washington traffic faster.

Pruitt replied that "some of the criticism is unfounded and exaggerated".

Pruitt and the agency have previously said that his upgraded security was recommended in response to an increased number of threats against him.

Later, Udall asked Pruitt to commit to turning over all email correspondence related to his housing search.

Pruitt said the agency intends to "take more concrete action" on C-8. Udall said it appears Pruitt "mocked" Senate Democrats on Twitter after they voted to confirm his deputy Andrew Wheeler. a violation of the Hatch Act.

Udall then disclosed an internal email from then-EPA special agent Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta indicating Pruitt wanted the sirens used.

EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins said in letters to Democratic senators that Pruitt himself initiated the 24-hour protection, which far exceeds the part-time security afforded to past EPA administrators. According to Udall, the IG is looking into the administrator's luxury travel; trips to Oklahoma for football games; the use of a condo owned by a lobbyist at a discounted rate; the use of clean drinking water programs for political purposes; and payments to a close adviser who didn't show up for work for three months. Perrotta also wrote the agency's justification for Pruitt's first-class travel.

"A series of investigations are now underway", Murkowski said to Pruitt, "I would hope that you can fully answer the questions that members that they will pose this morning". That challenges Pruitt's account that the round-the-clock security was a result of threats against him after taking office.

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The letter was signed by the governors of South Carolina , Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Guam, Maine, and West Virginia.

The hearing was the toughest grilling Pruitt has yet faced about ethical issues, ranging from his use of taxpayer money to fly first class to outsized spending on his personal security.

"You attack the core mission of the EPA and you attack human health", Leahy said.

Former EPA officials have told The Associated Press that Pruitt made the change after Perrotta's predecessor refused to use lights and sirens in non-emergencies. "I'm anxious you are spending all of your time enriching yourself and your friends while betraying your mission to protect human health and the environment".

The chemicals that were under review are PFOA and PFOS, which, as Politico notes, "have always been used in products like Teflon and firefighting foam"-as well as by the Department of Defense, when it conducts exercises at US bases-despite the fact that they "have been linked with thyroid defects, problems in pregnancy, and certain cancers, even at low levels of exposure". This included a $43,000 soundproof phone booth.

He also touted all the regulations his agency has dismantled.

The administrator also confirmed he has established a legal defense fund to address the multiple inquiries he faces.

Pruitt met with a law firm representing the Orange County Water District that employs Hewitt last October, according to internal emails obtained by Politico earlier this month.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., had sharp critiques of the agency's proposed budget calling it "reckless and unrealistic" and proof that the administrator has "total contempt ... for bedrock environmental safeguards, the work of the EPA and the people who monitor and protect and conserve our environment".

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