GOP senator criticizes EPA head’s closed-door meeting in North Dakota
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) criticized Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt for holding a closed-door meeting during a trip to the state last week.
“I think [meetings] should be open,” Hoeven told The Bismarck Tribune on Friday. “And when my office organizes them, that’s how we do it.”
Hoeven’s office told the Tribune that it had encouraged the EPA to open up Pruitt’s meetings with state officials last Wednesday.
Pruitt spent the day with Hoeven, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and held closed-door meetings with agriculture and energy industry representatives.
Pruitt spoke with some media outlets during the trip, but reporters for the Grand Forks Herald clashed with EPA officials over access during his trip there. The National Press Club and the North Dakota Newspaper Association both later criticized the meetings.
A spokesman for Burgum told the Tribune the meetings’ logistics amounted to a “misunderstanding.” Cramer said “there certainly would have been no reason to feel threatened by North Dakotans,” because he said the EPA’s positions are in line with those of people in the state.
The EPA did not reply to a request for comment Monday.