A state judge today ordered the office of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to release thousands of documents, including emails, related to Pruitt’s conversations with energy industry executives. Tomorrow, the United States Senate votes on Pruitt’s nomination to run the Environmental Protection Agency, for the administration of Donald Trump.
Snip from the Huffington Post:
Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons of the District Court of Oklahoma County ruled that the attorney general’s office will have until Tuesday to turn over more than 2,500 emails and other documents. The watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, with legal representation from the American Civil Liberties Union, had filed a lawsuit against Pruitt earlier this month, alleging that his office had violated Oklahoma’s open records law.
The lawsuit claimed that Pruitt, who has served as Oklahoma’s attorney general since 2011, had failed to respond to nine open-records requests seeking communications between his office and members of the fossil fuel industry, including Koch Industries, Peabody Energy and the National Coal Council. The requests had been filed as far back as January 2015.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that people who work at the Environmental Protection Agency have been calling their senators “to urge them to vote on Friday against the confirmation of Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s contentious nominee to run the agency, a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the E.P.A..”
Many of the scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts who work in E.P.A. offices around the country say the calls are a last resort for workers who fear a nominee selected to run an agency he has made a career out of fighting — by a president who has vowed to “get rid of” it.
“Mr. Pruitt’s background speaks for itself, and it comes on top of what the president wants to do to E.P.A.,” said John O’Grady, a biochemist at the agency since the first Bush administration and president of the union representing the E.P.A.’s 15,000 employees nationwide.
Nicole Cantello, an E.P.A. lawyer who heads the union in the Chicago area, said: “It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what E.P.A. has done. I don’t know if there’s any other agency that’s been so reviled. So it’s in our interests to do this.”
“It is rare,” said James A. Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Senate voted to advance Pruitt’s nomination. A final vote is expected to occur on Friday.
On the vote breakdown, Reuters:
The Senate voted 54 to 46 to advance Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of oil and gas producing Oklahoma. Pruitt has come under criticism from many lawmakers for suing the agency he intends to run 14 times on behalf of Oklahoma. One Republican, Senator Sue Collins, said this week she would not vote for Pruitt in the final vote.
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