Pruitt prioritized California cleanup site after conservative radio host set up meeting

Pruitt prioritized California cleanup site after conservative radio host set up meeting
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards MORE's decision to prioritize the cleanup of a polluted California area came after conservative radio and television host Hugh Hewitt set up a meeting between Pruitt and the lawyers for the water district seeking the EPA's help.

The previously unreported meeting between Pruitt and the lawyers seeking help to clean up the polluted Orange County site was revealed after a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit by the Sierra Club.

Politico reported on the environmental organization's release of the obtained EPA emails, call logs and documents on Monday.

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Hewitt, who lives in Orange County and has a son who works in the EPA press office, emailed Pruitt in September of last year and asked that the EPA administrator meet with the law firm Larson O’Brien, which represents the Orange County Water District and employs Hewitt, Politico reported.

Pruitt’s aides responded quickly and set up a meeting for October, according to Politico.

The Orange County site then appeared on Pruitt’s Superfund list of 21 contaminated areas to address six weeks after the meeting. By January, the EPA proposed it also be added to the EPA’s National Priorities List, which could make the site eligible for long-term federal cleanup funding, Politico reported.

Since the meeting, Hewitt has publicly defended Pruitt as a string of ongoing ethics controversies triggered by his travel expenses, Washington, D.C., condo rental and other expenditures.

Pruitt’s public calendar listed the meeting with Hewitt's contacts as a staff meeting, but his private Outlook calendar listed the meeting as an “Orange County Superfund Site” meeting.