EPA chief promises to recuse himself from lawsuits, advocates for coalEnlarge / Scott Pruitt on April 19, 2017 in East Chicago, Indiana. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt sent a memo to agency employees last week saying that he would recuse himself from lawsuits that he brought against the Agency as Oklahoma Attorney General, according to Reuters. Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times under the Obama Administration, challenging policy from the Clean Power Plan to the Waters of the United States rule.
In his Senate confirmation hearing in January, Pruitt hadn’t definitively stated that he would step back from all the lawsuits against the very agency he was about to head.
Instead, he said that he would defer to the EPA’s ethics counsel, which stated that he must recuse himself from lawsuits brought against the agency in the year previous.
In a four-page recusal memo sent on Thursday (PDF), which E&E News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Pruitt said that he would “not participate in any active cases in which Oklahoma is a party, petitioner, or intervenor.” The Administrator listed twelve cases, including three involving Murray Energy Corp., one of the largest coal mining companies in the US, as well as a case involving Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing.
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