EPA chief's schedule heavily favors industry contacts: report

EPA chief's schedule heavily favors industry contacts: report

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court rejects new effort to stop kids' climate lawsuit | Baltimore is latest city to sue over climate change | EPA staffers worried about toxic chemical in Pruitt's desk Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE's schedule has a heavy emphasis on top executives from companies that his agency is tasked with regulating, The New York Times is reporting.

According to the report, which is based on Pruitt's schedule between February and May, Pruitt held daily meetings and attended other working events with top industry executives.

He had few meetings with environmental and public health groups, the Times noted.

The newspaper highlighted his schedule on April 26, when Pruitt met with General Motors lobbyists who urged him to withdraw an Obama-era regulation aimed at reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.

He then had a lunch meeting with the heads of Southern Company, one of the largest coal-burning electric utility companies in the U.S., and met with the board of directors of Alliance Resource Partners, another powerful coal-mining company, for another meal, according to the report. 

The chief executive of Alliance Resource Partners also reportedly donated almost $2 million to PACs that aimed to get President Trump elected.

Pruitt developed relationships with these companies when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general. During that period, he sued the EPA over a dozen times to halt regulations on firms he is now overseeing, according to the report.  

EPA officials defended Pruitt's meetings with the executives.

“As E.P.A. has been the poster child for regulatory overreach, the agency is now meeting with those ignored by the Obama administration,” the agency said in a statement to the Times, calling its report an “attempt to sensationalize for clicks” Pruitt's schedule.

Others who have served in the same position, however, told the Times they found the industry-heavy schedule unusual.