Pruitt met with fossil fuel reps 25 times more than environmentalists in first seven months

Pruitt met with fossil fuel reps 25 times more than environmentalists in first seven months
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Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency who has touted his ability to roll back Obama-era regulations, met with industry representatives 25 times more than environmentalists during his first 7 months in office.

According to records of Pruitt's public schedule between Feb. 22 and Aug. 10, 2017, about 77 percent of Pruitt's total meetings during that period were with industries the agency regulates.

Reuters first reported the findings Friday. They were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Environmental Integrity Project. 

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Nearly half of those industry meetings were with representatives of oil, gas, mining and coal industries. Prominent names included BP, Valero Energy Corp and Murray Energy, Reuters found.

Pruitt only met with four environmental groups during the same time period. The groups were Trout Unlimited, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the Environmental Council of the States and the Alliance to Restore Our Waterways, records showed.

The meetings fall in line with Pruitt's regulatory reform approach to the agency, where he's strived to make major cutbacks to environmental protections in the name of cost saving and economic support.

Pruitt has been under heavy fire recently for his personal housing arrangement — he rented a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist — and other decisions he's made at the agency.

The EPA chief has continued to tout his reform efforts as his most important accomplishments at the agency. Those achievements have equally been hailed by Republican policymakers who see his regulatory reform as a necessary check against too-burdensome Obama-era environmental protections.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE on Thursday voiced confidence in Pruitt, saying "he’s done a fantastic job."

"I think he’s done an incredible job. He’s been very courageous,” the president told reporters. “It hasn’t been easy, but I think he’s done a fantastic job.”

Trump added: “You know, I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt."