MSNBC has scolded conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt for advocating that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children Science matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE take action on a contaminated site.
Emails obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act show that Hewitt emailed Pruitt last year to set up a meeting with the law firm Larson O’Brien, where Hewitt works and which represents the Orange County Water District.
The water district wanted the EPA to put more effort into a Superfund cleanup effort that the Obama administration had designated. Pruitt soon put the project on a short list of sites slated for “immediate and intense action.”
After Politico reported on the exchange this week, MSNBC, where Hewitt hosts the Saturday show “Hugh Hewitt,” reprimanded him.
“He was given a verbal warning as such activity is a violation of our standards,” an MSNBC spokesman said in a statement.
The spokesman said Hewitt had previously agreed not to discuss EPA matters on his show, since he considers Pruitt a friend and Hewitt’s son works at the agency.
Hewitt, a columnist for The Washington Post, has also gotten in trouble with the paper. Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt told The Hollywood Reporter that he is “disturbed” by the news, but that Hewitt had agreed not to write about the EPA going forward.
Hewitt, for his part, thinks the controversy is overblown.
He took to Twitter Tuesday to call the Politico story “quite a reach,” and defended his action calling attention to the Superfund site.
“Proud to have done so though it isn’t my client. It was my home and I have served as County appointee for 17 years. Nasty place needs clean up ASAP,” he wrote of the site.