EPA: Pruitt faced profanities from fellow passengers when he flew coach

EPA: Pruitt faced profanities from fellow passengers when he flew coach
© Greg Nash

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law Top Dem: EPA slowed ‘politically charged’ FOIA requests Majority of registered voters say Pruitt 'conducted himself inappropriately' at EPA: poll MORE faced profanities and confrontations while traveling after controversy surrounding his use of first-class flights.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Henry Barnet, told Politico that Pruitt was “approached in the airport numerous times” and had profanities “yelled at him” during his travels.

Barnet told the publication that one specific incident saw a person approach Pruitt and shout “Scott Pruitt, you’re f---ing up the environment” while recording it on a cellphone.

“The team leader felt that he was being placed in a situation where he was unsafe on the flight,” Barnet told Politico.

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“We felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, the special agent in charge, that it would be better suited to have him in business or first class, away from close proximity from those individuals who were approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth,” he continued.

The EPA's defense of the administrator's traveling habits comes after The Washington Post reported Sunday that Pruitt frequently flies first class on official trips, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

CBS News reported late Tuesday that Pruitt flew business class in June on an Emirates flight back from Italy after obtaining a waiver to rules that require official travel to be on United States-flagged airlines.

On Tuesday, Pruitt blamed his first-class flying on interactions that have “not been the best.”

He told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his security detail dictated his travel choices, and he played no role in the decisions.

“We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment,” Pruitt said.

“We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the [security] detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat.”

Pruitt and his family have received far more threats than previous EPA leaders. E&E News reported that the EPA’s inspector general opened around 70 investigations into threats in 2017, about double the previous year.

In response, Pruitt and the EPA have taken additional security measures that his predecessors didn't.