Oklahoma AG looks to delay release of more Pruitt emails

Oklahoma AG looks to delay release of more Pruitt emails
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Oklahoma officials are asking the state’s highest court to temporarily delay the release of more emails from Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE, the state's former attorney general who now heads the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Officials late Thursday appealed a lower court’s order to release more emails and requested a temporary order against handing over the documents requested under the state’s Open Records Act.

The attorney general’s office turned over more than 7,000 pages of emails from Pruitt’s office on Wednesday after the liberal group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) sued in order to get documents it requested through several open records filings. 

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Oklahoma officials were ordered to respond to five further data requests by next week. 

But in a court filing, the state's attorney general’s office said it didn’t have enough time to respond to the initial lawsuit seeking the release of those documents, and requested the Oklahoma Supreme Court block the order. 

“The District Court’s [order] subjects the Defendant to a nearly Herculean task of responding to five large open records requests in a ten-day period — and ignoring all other ORA requests submitted by other parties prior to Plaintiff’s various requests,” the office wrote in a court filing. 

In a statement, CMD Executive Director Lisa Graves called the move “more stonewalling by Team Pruitt.”

The state’s Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case next Tuesday. 

Opponents of Pruitt, who took over as EPA chief last week, contend the emails could reveal close ties between his office and Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry. The emails released on Wednesday showed frequent messages between Pruitt officials and oil companies, as well as coordination on opposition to federal environmental rules.