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Senate Should Delay Pruitt Vote Until Oklahoma Documents Are Released

Feb. 16, 2017

Senate Should Delay Pruitt Vote Until Oklahoma Documents Are Released

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program

Public Citizen agrees with the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s request to delay a vote on confirming Scott Pruitt to serve as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants to wait until all documents subject to the Center for Media and Democracy’s open records lawsuit involving Pruitt’s communications as Oklahoma attorney general with fossil fuel company executives and their lobbyists are released and the Senate has had an opportunity to review them.

Separate, less comprehensive documents obtained several years ago by The New York Times revealed how lobbyists for the oil and gas industry authored entire legal documents on behalf of Pruitt and the Oklahoma attorney general’s office on environmental issues, calling into question whether Pruitt was serving the public interest or corporate polluting interests. If there’s more, the public deserves to know.

If the Senate instead pushes ahead with a hasty vote on Pruitt before all of the facts are in, it might be because of the more than $122 million in campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests accepted by Republicans over the past two Senate election cycles, according to Public Citizen research released this week.

The public deserves to know whether Pruitt will side with us or with the oil and gas industry.