EPA’s Pruitt recuses himself from environmental lawsuits
EPA’s Pruitt recuses himself from environmental lawsuits.
“A spokesperson for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the administrator is considering replacing the five scientists with representatives of industries whose pollution the EPA polices”.
Pruitt, who had sued the environmental agency more than a dozen times when he was the oil- and gas-producing state’s top legal officer, had pledged during his senate confirmation that he would step aside from ongoing cases if the agency’s ethics panel required it.
Pruitt’s recusal statement, obtained by E&E news and dated May 4, outlines several lawsuits he has agreed not to be involved in until one year after his Senate confirmation on February 18 of this year.
“I am profoundly committed to carrying out my ethical responsibilities”, Pruitt said in the statement.
They include Oklahoma and the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a public policy group involving Republican attorneys general that targeted environmental rules.
Pruitt formally recused himself in an agency memorandum Thursday, saying he will not participate in 12 lawsuits, all but one of which were filed against the EPA.
During Pruitt’s confirmation hearing, Democrats pressed him on his stances on rules meant to protect against climate change and air and water pollution and urged him to recuse himself from the 14 cases in which he had participated in lawsuits against the agency he was named to lead.
Last week, a federal appeals court granted President Donald Trump’s request to halt the lawsuit, effectively sending the rule back to the EPA for review and likely quashing the measure that aimed to combat carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants.