Pruitt: ‘I don’t recall’ asking security agents to use sirens

Pruitt: ‘I don’t recall’ asking security agents to use sirens
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head 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 told senators Wednesday that he doesn’t “recall” asking his security detail to use lights and sirens when driving him through Washington, D.C.

The New York Times reported last month that Pruitt had asked his security agents and driver to use lights and sirens in nonemergency situations to get to certain appointments faster, including dinner at a French restaurant, and that an agent was removed from the security detail for pushing back.

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallEPA deputy says he's not interested in Pruitt’s job Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 Overnight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release MORE (N.M.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee panel that oversees the EPA’s budget, asked Pruitt repeatedly if that report was true.

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“I don’t recall that happening, Sen. Udall,” Pruitt said. “There are policies that the agency follows, the agents follow. And to my knowledge, they followed it in all instances.”

Asked again, specifically, if he had requested the use of lights and sirens, Pruitt again denied knowledge.

“No, I don’t recall that,” he said.

The denials came despite claims earlier Wednesday by Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act Full interview: Democratic candidate Kerri Evelyn Harris discusses her Senate campaign in Delaware MORE (D-Del.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee Senate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Who is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? MORE (D-R.I.).

In a letter to EPA’s Inspector General Arthur Elkins, the Democrats say they obtained an email from Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, at the time the head of Pruitt’s security detail, saying that Pruitt “encourages the use” of lights and sirens when his detail drives him.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Democrats, for whom Carper is the leader, tweeted what they say is the email in question later Wednesday morning. 

Carper and Whitehouse asked for an investigation into Perrotta’s role in Pruitt’s security decisions, including the potential use of sirens.