Pruitt has always been a friend of the fossil fuel industry - emails revealed during a 2014 investigation by the New York Times showed Pruitt sending a letter of complaint to the EPA, in his role as Oklahoma Attorney General, drafted by Devon Energy, the largest energy company in Oklahoma. Pruitt's nomination faced fierce protests from environmentalists and some Democrats, who argued that his confirmation vote should be delayed until after the release of the emails.
"We think it would be most effective for Oklahoma to file a separate waiver petition that emphasizes 'severe environmental harm, ' as this argument is more credible coming from a State with primary responsibility for achieving and maintaining attainment with the NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standards]", Moskowitz said.
The group that sought the emails, the Center for Media and Democracy, pointed to the messages to accuse Pruitt of being too close to the industries he'll now regulate. The office has until Tuesday to release some 3,000 documents, which may reveal more coordination between Pruitt and industry actors. But close ties to companies he is now charged with regulating may validate complaints by Democrats about Pruitt's potential conflicts of interest. He understands that while farmers and ranchers make their living off the land, they are also its best stewards. The EPA was created to be exclusively concerned with the environment and human health. Producers were burdened with overregulation, which left them feeling ruled, not governed. During his confirmation hearing, he claimed he was unsure how much lead was safe for humans to consume.
The Trump administration offered a foretaste of its environmental policy with a speech on Tuesday by Scott Pruitt, the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
The companies provided him draft letters to send to federal regulators in an attempt to block federal regulations meant to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas wells, ozone air pollution, and chemicals used in fracking, the email correspondence shows. Farmers are conservationists to the core and we want to play a positive, cooperative role in protecting the environment we rely on to produce food for this nation.
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Matt Ball, an executive at Americans for Prosperity, for instance, sent the former attorney general an email thanking him and his "respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama's EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states".
Moskowitz's email was then forwarded to Pruitt's deputy solicitor general, P. Clayton Eubanks, who replied that he knew little about the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and asked for further instructions about what the trade group wanted them to do.
"This president is a fixer, he's an action oriented leader and a refocused EPA is in a great position to get results", he said in the interview. Altogether, Pruitt sued the EPA fourteen times before becoming administrator. "If we need to look at other dates later on we can do that as well". "After Sonny Perdue is confirmed as secretary of agriculture, we can all focus on getting farmers the finest technology that science can bring".
Pruitt's supporters in the fossil fuel industry and among conservatives opposed to regulations, see him as a corrective to what they consider the Obama administration's regulatory overreach.