Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt

Credentials

  • Juris Doctor (J.D.), University of Tulsa College of Law (1990-1993). [1]
  • Bachelor's Degree, Political Science and Communications (1990). [1]

Background

E. Scott Pruitt is the 14th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump Administration. Pruitt formerly served as the Oklahoma Attorney General, a position he held since November, 2010. [2], [74], [75], [76]

While Attorney General, Pruitt established the “first federalism unit to combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government.” Pruitt's profile at The Federalist Society, where he is listed as an expert, notes that Pruitt has been described as “one of the Obama administration’s most tenacious tormentors.” He has been a “advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda, and he is leading the charge against the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan and 'Waters of the U.S.' rules for their unlawful attempt to displace state sovereignty in the environmental regulatory context.” [3], [4]

According to data from Followthemoney.org, Pruitt has collected at least $345,246 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry since 2002. E&E News writes that Pruitt raised $282,111 from oil and gas interests over four state campaigns. Only lawyers and lobbyists gave more, at $298,717. [5][6]

Pruitt was the subject of a 2014 New York Times investigation titled ”Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General” which described “the unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation's top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda.” [7]

Scott Pruitt has a history of opposing to the EPA. In 2011, after the Obama administration issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in order to reduce mercury emissions, Pruitt responded by issuing a number of lawsuits, including one that is ongoing. Pruitt has sued the EPA at least 14 times, including many cases which oppose emissions reductions under the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan. “In all but one of these 14 cases, regulated industry players also were parties. And these companies or trade associations in 13 of these cases were also financial contributors to Mr. Pruitt's political causes,” The New York Times reported. [49], [22]

    Pruitt's EPA Nomination

    Pruitt was confirmed as administrator of the EPA on February 17, 2017. Pruitt's initial committee confirmation vote was to take place on February 1, 2017, but the vote was delayed when Democrats boycotted the planned vote.  [74], [75], [76][71]

    When President-elect Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to serve as administrator of the U.S. EPADeSmog how Pruitt's history working with oil, gas, and utility companies could affect his confirmation. [8], [9]

    In 2015, Pruitt, as Oklahoma's AG, filed suit against the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, the regulation that would curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Assisting Pruitt were attorneys from BakerHostetler, one of the nation’s largest law firms.

    It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile E.P.A. administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history,” Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, told the New York Times in December 2016. [8]

    Two of the BakerHostetler attorneys joining Pruitt, David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman, recently established the Free Speech in Science Project to defend companies and groups over their climate science denial. The group arose shortly after investigations began into ExxonMobil’s knowledge and actions relating to climate change. A few months after the group launched, Pruitt signed a letter, along with other Republican attorneys general, to counter the climate fraud investigations of fossil fuel companies. 

    Pruitt received strong support for his confirmation from industry groups and think thanks opposing climate change action including The Heartland Institute, American Energy Alliance (AEA), and others. In a January 12, 2017 official letter of support (PDF), numerous groups declared that the Senate should “swiftly approve his nomination.” Signatories of the letter included: [70]

    The Republican Attorneys General Association and the Rule of Law Defense Fund

    Pruitt is a former chair and member of The Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), a secretive group that actively fought against the Clean Power Plan. While the RLDF's funding remains largely unknown, Bloomberg reports that it received funding from Freedom Partners, a group tied to Charles and David Koch. Pruitt stepped down shortly before his selection by Trump to head the EPA was announced and resigned as a board member in December, 2016. [10], [11]

    According to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), The RLDF is a 501(C)(4) organization and is not required to publicly disclose its sources of funding. RLDF was created in 2014 by the Republican Attorneys General Association and shares staff and offices. [12], [13]

    The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has received almost $4 million in funding from fossil fuel interests since 2014. In 2015, RAGA had secretive meetings with energy companies Murray Energy and Southern Company, which Bloomberg noted coincided closely with large contributions from both energy companies. Shortly after that meeting, Republican attorneys general went on to fight the EPA's Clean Power Plan in court. [14], [15]

    CMD notes how RAGA lets corporations get close to attorneys general and their staff: [16]

    “Corporations can pay a premium rate RAGA membership fee of up to $125,000 for the privilege of holding private briefings with attorneys general and their staff, as well as attending the annual meeting. The conference provides ample opportunity for attorneys general to directly solicit campaign contributions from corporate representatives during private meetings, informal conversations and leisure activities—like kayaking, a five-hour golf game, and a National Rifle Association-sponsored shooting tournament.”

    Politico reported that shortly before Pruitt's confirmation hearing, a new secretive Super PAC emerged calling itself Protecting America Now. Politico writes: [17]

    “The new group, Protecting America Now, warns that Pruitt’s confirmation “is not a certainty” and says that millions of dollars are needed for advertising and social media campaigns to counter anti-Pruitt campaigning from “anti-business, environmental extremists,” according to a flier obtained by POLITICO.

    Politico also reported on two other PACs, formed in 2015, both supporting Pruitt. E&E News details the background of Liberty 2.0 and Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC, noting that “The Oklahoma Strong Leadership PAC is able to accept limited donations and coordinate with Pruitt, enabling the Oklahoma attorney general to funnel money to preferred political candidates across the country. The downtown Tulsa address is the same as that of Pruitt's campaign office.” [6]

    Two other groups, America Rising PAC and America Rising Squared, also ran ads supporting Pruitt's nomination in red states with Democratic senators and also launched the ConfirmPruitt.com website. [18]

    Scott Pruitt's Fossil Fuel Ties

    DeSmog mapped Scott Pruitt's fossil fuel ties and tracked groups connected to Pruitt and his confirmation hearings: [19]

    Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

    While still a state representative, Scott Pruitt formerly chaired the ALEC Civil Justice task force. [20] He described ALEC in a 2013 interview: [21]

    ALEC is unique in the sense that it puts legislators and companies together and they create policy collectively. The actual stakeholders who are affected by policy aren’t at the table as much as they should be […] Serving with them is very beneficial, in my opinion.”

    After becoming attorney general, Pruitt spoke at a number of ALEC events including a 2013 panel titled “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines” and in ALEC's 2014 annual meeting

    Legal Actions against  the EPA

    Pruitt has filed 14 lawsuits against the EPA, as reported in a review by the New York Times“In all but one of these 14 cases, regulated industry players also were parties. And these companies or trade associations in 13 of these cases were also financial contributors to Mr. Pruitt's political causes,” The New York Times reported. Case list below: [22]

    • EPA's Regional Haze Rule (2011)
    • Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) (2011)
    • Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS) (2012)
    • Alleged EPA violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (2013)
    • Regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (2014)
    • Draft rule of the Clean Power Plan (2014)
    • Clean Power Plan (July 2015)
    • Clean Power Plan (August 2015)
    • Clean Power Plan (June 2016)
    • Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants (MATS) (2015)
    • Waters of the United States (WOTUS) (2015)
    • National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (2015)
    • Methane Emissions (2016)
    • Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction and Scheduled Maintenance (SSM & SM) State Implementation Plan (2016)
    • Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed and Modified Sources (2016)

    Stance on Climate Change

    January, 2017

    Scott Pruitt was questioned on his positions regarding climate change at his EPA confirmation hearing. In response to a question from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Pruitt stated: [23]

    The climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner. It is the ability to measure it and the extent of that impact, and what to do about it that is subject to continued debate and dialogue.”

    Later in the hearing, further responding to questions from Sanders, Pruitt proclaimed that his personal opinion on the matter of climate change was “immaterial” to serving as the EPA administrator[48]

    According to The Independent, Pruitt contradicted Donald Trump's claim that climate change was a hoax: [24]

    “I do not believe climate change is a hoax,” Mr Pruitt said.

    In his opening remarks, Pruitt stated (see video below):

    “Science tells us that the climate is changing, and that human activity in some manner impacts that change. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, and well it should be.” [48]

    May, 2016

    In an article Pruitt co-wrote with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange in the National Review, they declared: [25]

    “That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”

    April, 2015

    In a 2015 Financial Times interview, Scott Pruitt said that humanity’s contribution to global warming was “subject to considerable debate.” After being told that 97 per cent of scientists endorsed the idea that humans had caused climate change, he said: “Where does that fit with the statutory framework? That’s not material at all. So that’s why I don’t focus on it.” [26]

    Key Quotes

    May 26, 2016

    Testifying (PDF) before a Congressional committee on why he sued the EPA under the Obama administration, Pruitt said: [27], [28]

    “The EPA was never intended to be our nation’s foremost environmental regulator. The states were to have regulatory primacy. That construct –a construct put in place by this body – has been turned upside down by this administration. That’s why I’m here today. I’d like to explain to you why I so jealously guard Oklahoma’s sovereign prerogative to regulate in both a sensible and sensitive way.”

    July, 2014

    Speaking at the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) 2014 Annual Meeting, Pruitt declared: [29]

    “Beyond the regional haze case, we have something on the horizon something more troubling. And that’s the proposed rule under 111(d) with respect to CO2 regulation. We have an EPA that is engaged in rulemaking, proposed rulemaking, that seeks to exert itself in a way that the statute doesn’t authorize at all.”

    October, 2012

    Scott Pruitt among others signed a suit filed against the EPA's regulation of mercury pollution from power plants (PDF). In the Summary of Argument, they wrote: [53]

    “[T]he record does not support EPA’s findings that mercury, non-mercury HAP metals, and acid gas HAPs pose public health hazards.”

    Key Deeds

    June 2, 2017

    Following Donald Trump's official announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Accord, Pruitt said the U.S. has “nothing to be apologetic about” for leaving the Paris climate deal at the White House Daily Briefing. [85], [86]

    The Washington Post reported that Pruitt had played a decisive role in influencing Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. [83]

    In Pruitt's prepared speech on June 1, Pruitt applauded Trump's decision to exit the agreement as “a historic restoration of American Economic Independence – one that will benefit the working class, the working poor, and working people of all stripes.  With this action, you have declared that people are the rulers of this country once again.” [84]

    March 9, 2017

    Scott Pruitt stated in a CNBC interview that he doesn't carbon dioxide to be one of the main contributors to global warming. The Hill posted a partial except of the interview: [80], [81]

    “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see […] But we don’t know that yet […] we need to continue the debate and continue the review and the analysis,” Pruitt said.

    DeSmog reported that environmental groups have expressed their displeasure with Pruitt's comments: [82]

    This is like your doctor telling you that cigarettes don't cause cancer,” Jamie Henn, strategic communications director for 350.org, said in a statement. “Pruitt’s statement isn’t just inaccurate, it’s a lie. He knows CO2 is the leading cause of climate change, but is misleading the public in order to protect the fossil fuel industry.”

    DeSmog also put together a brief video, outlining Pruitt's stance on global warming, highlighting his earlier statements during his confirmation hearing when he was questioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders:

    February 21, 2017

    The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) obtained thousands of emails from the Oklahoma Attorney General's office. CMD had previously filed a lawsuit against Pruitt for withholding the public records. The emails were released after the Oklahoma County Court found Pruitt in violation of the state’s Open Records Act. [77], [78]

    Among the documents released on February 21, CMD found emails further documenting the close relationship between Devon Energy and Scott Pruitt. They also found that the oil and gas lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) coordinated opposition in 2013 to both the Renewable Fuel Standard Program and ozone limits with Pruitt’s office. AFPM provided Pruitt with template language for an Oklahoma petition,  noting “this argument is more credible coming from a State.” [78]

    DeSmog also examined the emails, noting that they reveal a close relationship with groups such as the Koch Industries-funded Americans for Prosperity and the Oklahoma Public Policy Council, the latter a member of the influential conservative State Policy Network (SPN). [79]

    CMD reports that the AG's office has withheld or redacted an undetermined number of additional documents pending review by the court. [78]

    January 18, 2017

    Scott Pruitt sat before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee for his confirmation hearing as a nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt was introduced by his “mentor,” prominent climate change denier James Inhofe. In response to a question from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Pruitt responded: [23]

    The climate is changing and human activity contributes to that in some manner. It is the ability to measure it and the extent of that impact, and what to do about it that is subject to continued debate and dialogue,” Pruitt said.

    DeSmog reported how Pruitt was grilled on his fossil fuel ties early in the hearing. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse held up a chart outlining how Pruitt has financially benefited from fossil fuel companies including Devon Energy, Southern Company, Koch Industries, and ExxonMobil. [30]

    Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon pointed to a 2014 letter that Pruitt's office had sent to the EPA about methane rules, which had been almost entirely written by Devon Energy.

    There were 1,016 words in the letter, and all but 37 words were written by Devon Energy,” said Merkley.  “Do you acknowledge that you presented a private oil company's position, rather than a position developed by the people of Oklahoma?” Merkley pushed, “How can you present that as representing the people of Oklahoma when you simply only consulted an oil company to push its own point of view for its private profit?”

    Pruitt responded that the letter wasn't intended to represent only one company, but the whole industry. See footage of Pruitt's hearing below, from C-SPAN.

    EPA Confirmation Hearing Part 1)

    EPA Confirmation Hearing Part 2)

    Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) mentioned Pruitt's letter to the EPA, authored almost entirely by Devon Energy, that had been reported in the 2014 New York Times investigation, asking pruitt if he would acknowledge that acknowledge that he “presented a private oil company’s position, rather than a position developed by the people of Oklahoma.” To this, Pruitt replied that he “disagree[d]” with Merkley’s conclusion and asserted that the letter was “representing the interests of the state of Oklahoma” because it “was representing the interest of an industry in the state of Oklahoma, not a company.” He added that he belived the oil industry is “a very important industry to our state” for justification. [7], [48]

    Asked by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) whether he solicited fossil fuel contributions on behalf of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), Pruitt said that “I have not asked them for money on behalf of RAGA.” While Media Matters notes that Pruitt's claim may be true, it also points out that RAGA had sent out call sheets to Republican attorneys general for the purpose of soliciting funds from corporations, making this a point worthy of followup. [69]

    Later in the hearing, in what Media Matters describes as “setting up an apparent conflict of interest,” Pruitt said that he would not recuse himself from his ongoing litigation against the EPA. Responding to a question by Senator Markey, Pruitt answered that he would only recuse himself if “as directed by EPA ethics counsel.” Markey noted that Pruitt’s continued involvement in those lawsuits would create a “fundamental conflict of interest.”  [48]

    Some of since suggested that Pruitt may have made a false statement under oath to the Senate during his confirmation hearing, Business Insider reports. Pruitt, while referring to an ongoing environmental lawsuit involving several poultry companies in Arkansas. Pruitt's predecessor, Drew Edmondson, had brought a case against 13 poultry companies, accusing them of dumping over 300,000 tons of poultry waste into the Illinois River. During Pruitt's campaign for state attorney general, he had accepted $40,000 in donations from those companies and the law firms representing them, according to The New York Times. One in office, Pruitt did not pursue the case as his predecessor had done. [72]

    In response to questions from Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey during his confirmation hearing, Pruitt said: “I have taken no action to undermine that case. I have done nothing but file briefs in support of the court making a decision.” Reporter Daniel Rivero found no evidence that Pruitt or his office had ever filed briefs in support of making a decision with the case, apparently contradicting his claim. [72], [73]

    January 12, 2017

    Senate Democrats raised conflict of interest concerns about Scott Pruitt. In a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, members of the Senate's environment panel requested more background on Pruitt's dealings with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which Pruitt led for two years while coordinating with other state AGs to combat the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. [31], [32]

    During his tenure as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations he will regulate if confirmed to lead EPA,” the letter said. “Public reporting based on documents produced by Freedom of Information Act requests illustrate how Mr. Pruitt and members of his staff have worked closely with fossil fuel lobbyists to craft his office's official positions.”

    November 1, 2016

    Among numerous ongoing legal challenges against the EPA's Clean Water Rule, Pruitt's name is included on a 2016 lawsuit issued in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. [68]

    October, 2016

    Scott Pruitt sued the EPA over standards for new, modified, and reconstructed power plants. Pruit and his PACs have received contributions from listed co-litigators including Murray Energy, Southern Company, Peabody Energy, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association. [49], [67]

    September 15, 2016

    Scott Pruitt was a speaker at a Federalist Society Event titled “The Clean Power Plan Goes to Court,” discussing the case of West Virginia et al. v. EPA. Video below: [33]

    Speakers included:

    • David Bookbinder, Founder, Element VI Consulting
    • David Doniger, Policy Director, Climate & Clean Air Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
    • Hon. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General, Oklahoma
    • David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP
    • Moderator: Adam J. White, Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution

    August 2, 2016

    Scott Pruitt, along with a number of other Republican attorneys general, sued the EPA over standards limiting pollution from new, modified and reconstructed oil and gas facilities. [49], [61]

    June 15, 2016

    Scott Pruitt signed a letter (PDF), along with other Republican attorneys general, opposing the investigations of ExxonMobil discussing what it knew about climate change. The open letter criticized the coalition of state attorneys general working under the banner of “AGs United for Clean Power,”  which supported the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, and also led the investigation into ExxonMobil. [34], [35]

    “We think this effort by our colleagues to police the global warming debate through the power of the subpoena is a grave mistake,” the letter reads.

    Signatories included the following:

    • Luther Strange — Attorney General, State of Alabama
    • Craig Richards — Attorney General, State of Alaska
    • Mark Brnovich— Attorney General, State of Arizona
    • Leslie Rutledge— Attorney General, State of Arkansas
    • Jeff Landry — Attorney General, State of Louisiana
    • Bill Schuette — Attorney General, State of Michigan
    • Doug Peterson — Attorney General, State of Nebraska
    • Adam Laxalt — Attorney General, State of Nevada
    • Scott Pruitt — Attorney General, State of Oklahoma
    • Alan Wilson — Attorney General, State of South Carolina
    • Ken Paxton — Attorney General, State of Texas
    • Sean Reyes — Attorney General, State of Utah
    • Brad Schimel — Attorney General, State of Wisconsin

    May 26, 2016

    Scott Pruitt testified (PDF) before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Environment on the “Impact of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on States.” [27]

    According to Pruitt:

     “the EPA was never intended to be our Nation’s frontline environmental regulator. The States were to have regulatory primacy. The EPA was to be a regulator of last resort. That construct, a construct put in place by this body, has been turned upside down by the current Administration.”

    Pruitt also describes hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as having “ done more to reduce carbon emissions in this country than any other technological advancement of our time.” Pruitt added, “This didn’t happen as a result of the heavy hand of the EPA. Rather, it happened because of fracking and the positive market forces that those sorts of Oklahoma innovations create.” [27]

    May 16, 2016

    Scott Pruitt was featured on a Federalist Society podcast to discuss the investigation of state attorneys general into what ExxonMobil knew about climate change over the past decades. Also on the panel was climate change denier and lobbyist C. Boyden Gray. [36]

    In the podcast, Pruitt reiterated his belief that if climate change skeptics can be prosecuted for fraud, so can “alarmists.” Take this tweet he wrote in June, 2016: [37]

    April 22, 2016

    Scott Pruitt was among those suing the EPA, alongside Murray Energy Corporation, opposing an update to its national ambient air standard for ground-level ozone (smog pollution). [56]

    April 22, 2016

    In ongoing litigation, Scott Pruitt suited the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. This was the fourth lawsuit that Pruitt filed against the EPA regarding the CPP, with three previous lawsuits being summarily rejected as premature: first, in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuitsecond in Oklahoma federal district court, this appealed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; and third in D.C Circuit Court. [63], [64], [65], [66]

    March 16, 2016

    The Office of the Attorney General of Oklahoma sued the EPA (PDF) over a rule that protected against excessive emissions from power plants during startup, shutdown, or malfunction. Co-litigators included Southern Company, from whom Pruitt had received campaign contributions. [49], [59], [60]

    October, 2015

    While working as Oklahoma's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt filed a lawsuit against the EPA's Clean Power Plan (PDF). Assisting him were the attorneys from BakerHostetler, one of the United States's largest law firms. [38]

    Two attorneys working with Pruitt included David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman—the same two who in Mach 2016 recently established the Free Speech in Science Project to defend companies and groups over their climate science denial. 

    August, 2015

    DeSmog reported on that, in 2015, just one week before state attorneys general asked federal courts to reject the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), republican state attorneys general had met in private with energy companies Murray Energy and Southern Company. Bloomberg also noted that the timing of the secret meetings coincided with large contributions from the energy companies to the Republican Attorneys General Association. [39], [15]

    Representatives had attended the August 2015 Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) summit in West Virginia. The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) identified Murray Energy and Southern Company as having shelled out extra money to secure private briefings with attorneys general at the annual RAGA summit. [39]

    That’s highly inappropriate for law enforcement officials in a majority of states to be holding private meetings with corporations that they are supposed to be holding to account,” Nick Surgey, CMD Research Director, told DeSmog

    Documents first obtained by the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD revealed that Murray Energy and Southern Company had paid for the meetings with Republican attorneys general to discuss their opposition to the Clean Power Plan less than two weeks before the same GOP officials petitioned federal courts to block the CPP. [16]

    State attorneys general are supposed to enforce the law and serve the public interest, but instead these Republican officials have hung a ‘For Sale’ sale on their door, and the fossil fuel industry proved to be the highest bidder,” said Surgey. “It’s no coincidence that GOP attorneys general have mounted an aggressive fight alongside the fossil fuel industry to block the Clean Power Plan – that appears to be exactly what the industry paid for. Together, these documents reveal a sustained pattern of collusion between the fossil fuel industry and the Republican attorneys general on climate change obstructionism.”

    Scott Pruitt was on a RAGA panel named “The Dangerous Consequences of the Clean Power Plan & Other EPA Rules.” Other attorneys general on the panel included Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, and Ken Paxton of Texas.  [39]

    July 1, 2015

    Scott Pruitt sued the EPA for what his Office press release describes as the “Unlawful Clean Power Plan Rule.” [40]

    The EPA does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to accomplish what it proposes in the unlawful Clean Power Plan. The EPA is ignoring the authority granted by Congress to states to regulate power plant emissions at their source. The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats’ authority over states’ energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity. This would substantially threaten energy affordability and reliability for consumers, industry and energy producers in Oklahoma. Oklahomans care about issues of air quality and our state policy makers are best-suited and specifically granted the authority by federal law to regulate these issues. We are filing this lawsuit in order to ensure decisions on power generation and how to achieve emissions reductions are made at the local level rather than at the federal level,” Pruitt said.

    View the complete lawsuit here (PDF). [41]

    December 10, 2014

    Pruitt was among attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against the EPA opposing the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (PDF), after the U.S. Supreme Court had already upheld the standard. The EPA's program was designed to address soot and smog pollution that drifts across state lines. EDF Action notes that Pruitt and his associated PACs have received campaign contributions from a number of the energy companies included in the suit including Murray Energy, Peabody Energy and Southern Company. [50][49]

    Co-litigators Murray Energy, National Mining Association and a Peabody Energy subsidiary had also contributed to the Republican Attorneys General Association, of which Pruitt previously chaired.  [49]

    In 2011, Pruitt had submitted the comments of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative and the Oklahaoma Gas and Electric Company (PDF) regarding the implementation of the program. “[A]s the officer charged with the task of representing consumers and citizens within the State of Oklahoma, the Attorney General is greatly concerned about certain provisions in the current EPA proposal,” Pruitt's cover letter reads. In a seperate letter, he also submitted comments of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. [51], [52]

    December, 2014

    A 2014 investigation by The New York Times found that energy lobbyists had drafted letters for Pruitt to send on state-branded stationary to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Interior Department, the Office of Management and Budget, and to President Obama outlining how environmental rules would negatively impact the economy. View sample letters here. [7], [42]

    The Times pointed to a three-page letter that was written by the lawyers for Devon Energy. They write how Pruitt's staff had taken the draft written by Devon Energy, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and forwarded it with Pruitt's signature. [7]

    July, 2014

    Scott Pruitt spoke at the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) 2014 Annual Meeting where he criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Keep It in the Ground campaign. See video and partial transcript below. [29]

    Partial Transcript: [43]

    This body called the EPA, this agency called the EPA, what is their role? What is their objective? Is it to pick winners and losers in the energy context? Is it to say renewables are good and fossil fuels are bad? So we’re going to use are regulatory power to penalize fossil fuels and to elevate other types of energy? […]

    This EPA and all the agencies associated with it, they’re trying to make electricity so costly that they are forcing conservation, for you to use less across this country or pay an exorbitant price. That’s what this country is facing in the years ahead […]

    Do you know under the know under the Clean Water Act that the EPA has no jurisdictional authority over hydraulic fracturing unless the frac fluid that is used in the extraction process has diesel in it? But despite that. FracFocus is something industry publishes and the fluids they use and if there’s no diesel EPA has no authority. But despite that what is the EPA doing today? They’re engaged in a study to do just what I mentioned, regulate and overtake the regulation of hydraulic fracturing at the state level. Either displace it or duplicate it to make it so time consuming that it affects production across this country. That’s picking winners and losers […]

    Beyond the regional haze case, we have something on the horizon something more troubling. And that’s the proposed rule under 111(d) with respect to CO2 regulation. We have an EPA that is engaged in rulemaking, proposed rulemaking, that seeks to exert itself in a way that the statute doesn’t authorize at all […]

    Again, another example that the EPA taking a statute and saying we’ll improve or fix or take a different approach than authorized by Congress.”

    The Center for Media and Democracy's (CMDPR Watch reported that Pruitt also spoke at a session on the proposed EPA's limits on carbon pollution. CMD writes: “In keeping with ALEC’s longtime denial of both the science and solutions to climate change, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a Republican, spoke about proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits on carbon pollution. That session was sponsored by the world’s largest publicly owned coal company, Peabody Energy, and the trade association for the coal industry, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), of which Peabody is a member.” [44]

    March, 2014

    Scott Pruitt's Office filed a lawsuit against Fish and Wildlife Services, alleging it had engaged in a practice he described as “sue and settle.” Pruitt argued that the federal government had emphasized threats on certain animal species, including the lesser prairie chicken, in order to limit oil and gas drilling. The Domestic Energy Producers Alliance was a partner in Pruitt's litigation. The nonprofit alliance of oil producers was run by Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who The New York Times notes also served as the chairman of Pruitt's re-election campaign in that year. [45]

    May 3, 2013

    Scott Pruitt was a speaker at an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) event titled “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines” (PDF) in Oklahoma. Others who attended included event moderator Patrice Douglas, Chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission; Richard Muncrief, Senior Vice President of Operations, Continental Resources; and Corey Goulet, Vice President, Keystone Pipeline Projects, TransCanda Corporation. [46]

    2013

    Pruitt unsuccessfully sued EPA in an attempt to block Oklahoma air pollution rules to limit haze pollution in scenic areas. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Oklahoma’s petition, and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Oklahoma’s request for an appeal[49], [57], [58]

    October 23, 2012

    Pruitt sued to block a standard to limit mercury and other toxic emissions from power plant smokestacks. After the initial lawsuit, basic protections remained intact, so Pruitt sued the EPA a second time (PDF), even though the majority of U.S. powerplants had already achieved the standard, reported Forbes. [49][53], [54], [55]

    February 28, 2012

    Pruitt attempted to continue Oklahoma’s legal challenge to the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding, which had found that research supported climate change's negative impact on human health, community welfare, and extreme weather events. [49], [62]

    The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected the lawsuit and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.  [49]

    Co-litigators included the American Petroleum Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Mining Association, National Association of Home Builders, as well as a Peabody Energy, which have contributed to the Republican Attorneys General Association[49]

    2010

    Working in support of the American Farm Bureau’s, Pruitt helped file a lawsuit to overturn federal pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay.  Speaking with WYPR public radio, Ridge Hall, a former EPA attorney and vice chairman of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, said Pruitt’s EPA appointment in 2016 would be bad for the bay. [28]

    He has consistently opposed air regulations, water regulations, and EPA generally,” Hall said. “So this is really a case of putting the fox in charge of the hen house.  So I hope very much that that nomination will be wither withdrawn or defeated.” 

    Affiliations

    Resources

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    5. Q. Show me selected business classifications selected industries contributions to PRUITT, E SCOTT,” Followthemoney.org. Search performed January 20, 2017. Archived .csv on file at DeSmog.

    6. Benjamin Sorrow and Mike Soraghan. “Super PAC rules would keep Pruitt's corporate cash flowing,” E&E News, January 6, 2017. Archived January 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/7vzlk

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    8. Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton. “Trump Picks Scott Pruitt, Climate Change Denialist, to Lead E.P.A.The New York Times, December 7, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/Mwqop

    9. Graham Readfearn. “Donald Trump Confirms Climate Science Denier and Fossil Fuel Industry 'Stenographer' Scott Pruitt to Lead EPA,” DeSmog, December 7, 2016.

    10. Rule of Law Defense Fund,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed January 23 2017.

    11. Trump’s EPA Pick Steps Down From Group That Battled the Agency,” Bloomberg, January 6, 2017. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/LZHAp

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    14. Nick Surgey. “RAGA FOSSIL FUEL FUNDERS 2014-2016,” The Centre for Media and Democracy, January 6, 2017. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Rw9Dt

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    20. Civil Justice Task Force,” American Legislative Exchange Council. Archived February 14, 2003. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/6XD8O

    21. What Makes Alec Smart?” Governing, October, 2003. Archived October 11, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/CKVnv

    22. Pruitt v EPA: A Compilation of 14 Challenges of EPA Rules Filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General,” The New York Times. Retrieved from DocumentCloud archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

    23. Shawn McCarthy. “Trump EPA pick Scott Pruitt says climate change isn’t a hoax,” The Globe and Mail, January 18, 2017. Archived January 20, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/aJM8X

    24. Andrew Griffin. “Donald Trump environment boss Scott Pruitt admits climate change is not a hoax in U-turn,” The Independent, January 19, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/y29ov

    25. Scott Pruitt and Luther Strange. “The Climate-Change Gang,” National Review, May 17, 2016. Archived January 20, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Q8hja

    26. Barney Jopson. “Obama’s climate change legacy at risk from conservative heartland,” Financial Times, April 15, 2015. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/rd7jG

    27. E. Scott Pruitt. “Impact of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan on States” (PDF), House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, May 26, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    28. Pick for EPA Administrator Opposed Federal Chesapeake Bay Cleanup,” WYPR, December 21, 2016. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/SVI6R

    29. Scott Pruitt 2014 ALEC Annual Meeting,” YouTube video uploaded by user American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), August 5, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

    30. Ben Jervey and Steve Horn. “EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Gets Grilled on Fossil Fuel Ties at Confirmation Hearing,” DeSmog, January 18, 2017.

    31. Elena Schor. “Senate Dems raise new conflict-of-interest charges against Pruitt,” Politico, January 12, 2017. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/6JaQb

    32. “Dear Mr. Shaub:” (PDF)United States Senate, January 12, 2017. Retrieved from Politico. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    34. “Dear Fellow Attorneys General:” (PDF), State of Alabama Office of the Attorney General, June 15, 2016. Retrieved from DocumentCloud. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    35. David Hasemyer. “Climate Fraud Investigation of Exxon Draws Attention of 17 Attorneys General,” InsideClimate News, March 30, 2016. Archived January 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/KVYck

    36. Governmental Power versus Free Speech? - Podcast,” The Federalist Society, May 16, 2016. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/fQJpK

    37. Scott Pruitt. “From @WashTimes: GOP AGs warn Dems that if climate skeptics can be prosecuted for ‘fraud,’ so can alarmists -” Tweet by user Scott Pruitt, June 17, 2016. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

    38. STATE OF OKLAHOMA ex re. E. Scott Pruitt, in his official capacity as Attorney General of Oklahoma; OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, Petitioners, vs. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent” (PDF), October 23 2015. Case No. 15-1365. Retrieved from E&E News. Archived .pdf one file at DeSmog.

    39. Ashley Braun. “To Fight Clean Power Plan, Fossil Fuel Companies Paid for Private Meetings with Republican State Prosecutors,” DeSmog, September 7, 2016.

    40. (Press Release). “AG Pruitt Sues EPA for Unlawful Clean Power Plan Rule,” Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt, July 1, 2015. Archived January 20, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/2m48a

    41. “(1) STATE OF OKLAHOMA ex rel. E. Scott Pruitt, in his official capacity as Attorney General of Oklahoma, and (2) OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, Plaintiffs, v. (1) GINA MCCARTHY, in her official capacity as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and (2) U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Defendants. ” (PDF), UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA, July 1, 2015. Case No. 15-CV-369-CVE-FHM. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    42. Devon Energy Scripted Letters,The New York Times, December 6, 2014. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    43. Matt Kasper. “Donald Trump Has Nominated Oklahoma AG Pruitt, ALEC and Fossil Fuel Industry Ally, To Lead EPA,” Energy and Policy Institute, December, 2016. Archived January 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/wXz6z

    44. Nick Surgey. “Coal and Oil Polluters Dominate ALEC Conference,” PR Watch, July 31, 2014. Archived January 23, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/eLmzH

    45. Oklahoma, Joining With Self-Interested Co-plaintiffs,” The New York Times, December 6, 2014. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    46. “Embracing American Energy Opportunities: From Wellheads to Pipelines” (PDF), American Legislative Exchange Council. Retrieved from PR Watch. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    47. Cliff Adcock. “New PACs Tied to Pruitt Cast National Net for Corporate Donors,” Oklahoma Watch, November 30, 2015. Archived January 23, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/hnUHT

    48. Andrew Seifter. “Eight Things We Learned From Scott Pruitt’s EPA Confirmation Hearing,” Media Matters, January 20, 2017. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/LcXxp

    49. Scott Pruitt’s web of fundraising and lawsuits,” EDF Action. Archived January 24, 2017. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/SgbDm

    50. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., et al., Petitioners, v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.,  Respondents. On Petitions for Review of a Final Order of the United States Environmental Protection Agency,” USCA Case #11-1302, December 10, 2014. Retrieved from EDFAction.og. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    51. RE: Comments of the Oklahoma Attorney General to the EPA on: 'Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Oklahoma; Interstate Transport of Pollution'” (PDF), Office of Attorney General, State of Oklahoma, November 16, 2011. Retrieved from Regulations.gov. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    52. “Oklahoma Attorney General Comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency on the Proposed Federal Implementation Plan for Interstate Transport of Pollution Affecting Visibility and Best Available Retrofit Technology Determinations” (PDF), May 23, 2011. retrieved from Regulations.gov. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    53. WHITE STALLION ENERGY CENTER, LLC, et al., Petitioners, V. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al., Respondents. On Petition for Review of Final Agency Action 77 FR 9304 (Feb. 16, 2012)” (PDF), USCA Case #12-1100. Retrieved from EDFaction.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    54. MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION, et al., Petitioners, V. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al., Respondents. On Petitions for Review of Final Agency Action of the United States Environmental Protection Agency 81 Fed. Reg. 24,420 (Apr. 25, 2016)” (PDF), USCA Case #16-1127, November 18, 2016. Retrieved from Blogs.edf.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

    55. Jeff McMahon. “Nearly All U.S. Coal Plants Now Comply With The EPA Mercury Rule That Was Shot Down By Supreme Court,” Forbes, July 10, 2016. Retrieved from Google cache, as it appeared Jan 19 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/JPA8w

    56. MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent. On Petition for Review of Final Agency Action of the United States Environmental Protection Agency 80 FED. REG. 65,292 (OCT. 26, 2015)” (PDF), USCA Case #15-1385. Retrieved from azag.gov. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    59. WALTER COKE, INC., et al., Petitioners, V. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al., Respondents. On Petition for Review of Final Agency Action of the United States Environmental Protection Agency 80 Fed. Reg. 33,840 (June 12, 2015)” (PDF), USCA Case #15-1166, March 16, 2016. Retrieved from edfaction.og. Archived.pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    62. COALITION FOR RESPONSIBLE REGULATION, ET AL., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND LISA P. JACKSON, ADMINISTRATOR, Respondents ON PETITIONS FOR REVIEW OF 74 FED. REG. 66,496 (DEC. 15, 2009) & 75 FED. REG. 49,556 (AUG. 13, 2010) (CONSOLIDATED)” (PDF), USCA Case #09-1322, May 20, 2011. Retrieved from edfaction.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    65. “(1) STATE OF OKLAHOMA ex rel. E. Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma,  and (2) OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY,  Plaintiffs, v. (1) GINA MCCARTHY, in her official capacity as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and (2) U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY,  Defendants.” (PDF), Case No. 15-CV-369-CVE-FHM, July 1, 2015. Retrieved from edfaction.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    68. MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION, et al., Petitioners, v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, et al., Respondents. In Re: Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense, Final Rule: Clean Water Rule: Definition of 'Waters of the United States,' 80 Fed. Reg. 37,054, published June 29, 2015 (MCP No. 135)” (PDF), Case No. 15-3822. Retrieved from edfaction.org. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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    71. Brady Dennis, Chris Mooney, and David Weigel. “Democrats boycott controversial EPA nominee Scott Pruitt’s committee confirmation vote,” The Washington Post, February 1, 2017. Archived February 8, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XrB32

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    81. Timothy Mama. “EPA chief: Carbon dioxide isn’t a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming,” The Hill, March 9, 2017. Archived March 9, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/eKGCB

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    Other Resources