EPA: Pruitt sent just one email to an outside address during first 10 months

EPA: Pruitt sent just one email to an outside address during first 10 months
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA moving ahead with science transparency rule by 'early next year' Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections MORE sent just one email from his official accounts to an address outside the government in his first 10 months on the job, officials said.

The sole email was released recently in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Sierra Club that sought all of his external emails.

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In the Sept. 1, 2017, email, Pruitt responded to a consultant with the Capitol Hill Consulting Group who had invited him to an event hosted by the American Council for Capital Formation.

Two months later Pruitt forwarded an email — to an address the EPA redacted, citing personal privacy — asking him to speak at an event.

The Sierra Club previously sued to get the email records after the EPA missed a deadline to produce them.

In a message first reported by Politico, EPA told a consultant for the Sierra Club that those were the only emails it found during the time period the group specified. The group is now asking the EPA to certify in court that Pruitt didn’t send any other external emails during those 10 months.

“The idea that Scott Pruitt sent a single work-related external email during nearly a year leading EPA is absurd on its face,” Justine Thompson Cowan, the Sierra Club’s pro bono consultant for the FOIA litigation, said in a statement. “That’s why the Sierra Club is demanding that EPA search Pruitt’s personal email accounts for work-related communications, or certify definitively that he does not use personal email or secretive messaging applications like WhatsApp and Signal to circumvent records retention laws.”

Previous public records requests found that Pruitt used a personal email account at times to conduct official business when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general. If he's done the same while at the EPA, those emails could be subject to the federal government’s FOIA standards.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said Pruitt just doesn’t use email very much.

“Administrator Pruitt works mostly in person through conversations,” Wilcox said.