Cantwell calls for Pruitt to address conflicts of interest regarding clean power plan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ranking Member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led colleagues in calling for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to address the apparent conflict of interest regarding his participation in EPA’s review of the Clean Power Plan, which Mr. Pruitt formerly challenged in court as Oklahoma’s Attorney General.
Senator Cantwell and Senator Carper, along with Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) requested information on Mr. Pruitt’s efforts to mitigate the likely conflicts of interest.
The Senators wrote, “Beginning in August 2014, you filed actions in both the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (West Virginia v. EPA) and the Northern District of Oklahoma challenging the Clean Power Plan on behalf of the State of Oklahoma…We all continue to believe that you should have committed to recuse yourself extensively from a number of matters during your confirmation process. Nevertheless, your anticipation of, and preparation for, signing of the Federal Register Notice and filing of the Motion in the DC Circuit should have triggered the more limited recusal policy to which you have already and repeatedly agreed.”
Prior to his confirmation as EPA Administrator, Mr. Pruitt said he would “seek authorization [from the EPA’s Designated Agency Ethics Officer] to participate personally and substantially in particular matters involving specific parties in which [he] know[s] the State of Oklahoma is a party or represents a party.”