Washington, D.C. April 3, 2018 – In light of multiple, growing scandals over EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s mismanagement and misspending at the agency, Environmental Integrity Project Executive Director Eric Schaeffer called on Pruitt to step down or be fired.
“Mr. Pruitt, please, give us a break and go home to Oklahoma. You’ll save the taxpayers millions of dollars a year, and we’ll all breathe easier,” said Schaeffer, former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA. “It’s past time for Mr. Pruitt to be fired or retired to stop him from turning EPA into a plaything for polluters and a political machine to serve his own political ambitions. Consider just the partial list of outrages so far: A $50 a night sweetheart rental in one of DC’s priciest neighborhoods. First class travel not just abroad, but back and forth to Oklahoma many times. More than 15 closed door ‘roundtable’ meetings with favored industries to talk about rolling back the Clean Water Act. An industry and travel calendar packed with oil and gas lobbyists, right wing think tanks and political organizations. An expensive security detail, more than twice the size of his predecessor’s, that tried to get the US Attorney to bring misdemeanor charges against nonviolent protestors who appeared at one his events. This is too much.”
The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a 15-year-old nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization dedicated to enforcing environmental laws to protect human health. EIP has been using litigation to obtain public records from EPA documenting Pruitt’s excessive spending on first-class travel, frequently to his home in Oklahoma, which the organization has posed on its website.
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The New York Times reported today that Pruitt’s agency approving a new oil pipeline for an energy company, Enbridge, despite a massive 2010 oil spill that resulted in a $61 million fine under the Obama Administration. Pruitt’s EPA, however, didn’t see any problems with the company and in fact his agency greenlighted the new oil pipeline at a time Pruitt was living for $50 per night in a Washington DC townhouse linked to the CEO of the lobbying firm that represented Enbridge.
The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Post reported this afternoon that Pruitt, despite objections from the White House, gave huge raises to political appointees and assistants he brought in from Oklahoma – including a more than 50 percent pay hike to one, and a 33 percent boost to another, using a fund designed for the Safe Drinking Water Act. Pruitt took the assistants on high-priced travel to Italy, and asked one of them to help him look for a new home for him in Washington DC.
“The Atlantic story about Scott Pruitt’s decision to increase a 30 year old political appointee’s salary by 50% — to $164,000 a year – is just the latest in a storm of disclosures about his unethical mismanagement of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Schaeffer said.