Scott Pruitt has made no secret of his interest in shaking things up at the EPA. The former Oklahoma attorney general spent years during the Obama administration challenging its regulations.
Now working as administrator of the very same agency, he’s rolled back rules given more of a voice to industry players, meeting with them far more than environmental groups.
Of all of the meetings Pruitt has held in person or on the phone, the majority have been with fossil fuel industry stakeholders. He’s held more than 100 meetings with industry representatives, about 25% of meetings overall, according to a recently public copy of his schedule from April to early September. In comparison, he’s held five meetings with environmentalist or science groups, which is less than 1%.
The top groups granted Pruitt’s personal ear are industry, staff members, elected officials, media interviews and speaking engagements. Environmental groups are in 10th place for frequency of meetings with the head of environmental protection.
Breaking down Pruitt’s meetings with each sector, energy groups are at the top of the list. He’s met with representatives of oil, gas, electric, biofuel and other such companies almost 35 times. The next most penciled-in groups is farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists. A large part of the EPA’s job is regulating chemicals and fertilizers.
The top two are followed by manufacturing, mining and finally environmentalists.
Under President Barack Obama, then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy had an opposite bias in her schedule for environmentalists, but still met regularly with industry players, according to a copy of her schedule obtained by The New York Times.
Pruitt, who formerly filed numerous lawsuits against federal regulations during his time as Oklahoma attorney general, has made clear his interest in giving more weight to regulated industries. He has questioned much of the data around environmental regulation and climate change.
“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt told The Washington Post in June.
“The citizens just don’t trust that EPA is honest with these numbers,” Pruitt told The Wall Street Journal in February. “Let’s get real, objective data, not just do modeling. Let’s vigorously publish and peer-review science. Let’s do honest cost-benefit work. We need to restore the trust.”