Senators Accuse EPA’s Pruitt of Thwarting Agency Transparency

WASHINGTON (CN) – Six Democratic senators  accused EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday of taking deliberate steps to keep them and the public in the dark about agency activities.

The senators, Kamala Harris of California; Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island; Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, say their concern was prompted by an August 11 New York Times article that suggested Pruitt has made a series of questionable ethical choices since taking over the agency.

Quoting anonymous sources, the article accuses Pruitt of effectively placing a moratorium on the publication of public calendars for senior agency officials.

This, the senators say, suggests Pruitt is “seeking to work in secret with the very entities [he is] charged with overseeing.”

The article also suggested the administrator prohibits staff from bringing cell phones into meetings and forbids them from taking notes so that no records of the day’s conversations can be maintained.

The article also claimed Pruitt avoids using his own email and telephone line for official agency business, and that he ordered staffers to use text messaging in order to keep communications untracked.

The senators, who sit on the Senate Committee for Environment and Public Works, asked Pruitt to take immediate, definitive steps to create a paper trail for all agency activities and to do his own job in a far more transparent manner.

The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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