Business & Lobbying

Former EPA head in talks to become coal consultant: report

Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is reportedly in talks to work as a coal industry consultant, two industry executives familiar with the discussions told The New York Times.

Pruitt is reportedly discussing working as a consultant to Kentucky coal mining tycoon Joseph W. Craft III, the Times reported Wednesday. Craft is the chief executive for Alliance Resource Partners and a major GOP donor.

According to the Times, Craft had a close relationship with the EPA during Pruitt's tenure at its helm.

Two industry officials told the paper that Pruitt met with several executives to discuss plans for beginning a new consulting company during a Kentucky Coal Association meeting last week. 

According to the executives, Pruitt would not be employed by Alliance. He would also broaden his clientele base, the paper noted.

Pruitt is bound by an ethics pledge implemented under President Trump not to lobby the EPA directly for five years in any role he may assume. He is, however, allowed to advise others in doing so as a private consultant, according to the Times.

One source told the Times that Pruitt would "not do anything inconsistent with his legal and ethical requirements" and would not lobby the federal government. 

Pruitt took a taxpayer-funded trip to Italy in 2017, which cost $164,200. Previous reports estimated Pruitt's travel costs for the trip to be at least $120,000, including the administrator's $7,003 first-class round-trip flight.

Pruitt also made use of a round-the-clock security team. He was the first EPA administrator to have security of such magnitude. According to the EPA's internal watchdog, the agency did not properly justify the need for such security measures, which allowed costs to jump from $1.6 million to $3.5 million in less than a year.

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