Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt Emails Reveal He Consulted with Industry About Regulations

Another tiresome example of selective political outrage ensues.

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ScottPruittEPA
EPA

Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was confirmed last week as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Activist groups and Congressional Democrats urged that the vote on his confirmation be delayed until emails detailing his communications with folks in industry were released under court order this week. The evident hope was that combing through the emails would reveal some kind of "smoking gun" that would forestall his becoming EPA adminstrator.

Well, some 7,000 pages of emails have now been released and posted by the liberal watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). It turns out that an elected Republican politician was in frequent contact with constituent companies who wanted to make known their concerns about the impact of federal regulations on their businesses. I confess that I have not read through all of the emails, but the reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post have evidently turned up nothing that is particularly surprising or corrupt in this batch (more emails are expected to be released later this month). As the Times reports:

The emails do not appear to include any request for his intervention explicitly in exchange for campaign contributions, although Mr. Pruitt was separately working as a member of the Republican Attorneys General Association to raise money from many of the same companies.

Despite the large volume of correspondence between Mr. Pruitt's office and the industry players, the emails are unlikely to cause Mr. Pruitt significant new problems. They do expand on email exchanges or topics that previously had been disclosed.

To a large extent, this episode is another tiresome example of selective political outrage: Special interest, like beauty, is in the eye of beholder. For example, in its 2015 report Obama's Carbon Mandate: An Account of Collusion, Cutting Corners, and Costing Americans Billions, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee found:

EPA and environmental activists had cozy relationships and egregiously used personal emails and held meetings away from EPA headquarters, including a local park and coffee shops.

Of specific interest was the role that the Natural Resources Defense Council played in helping the EPA devise the Obama Administration's rules for reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide. The report

details how NRDC staff was able to get their ideas for imposing greenhouse gas limits on power plants before EPA officials, how EPA policy makers and attorneys worked closely with NRDC's experts on developing these regulations, and how EPA relied on groups like NRDC as partners to communicate messages to the public about the pro posed rules.

Bemusingly, the Post reports today:

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. "These [Pruitt] emails tell us that he's in league with the very industries we've now entrusted him to police."

If an agency or government office is empowered to punish and reward, then it's not a surprise that special interests - activists and industry - seek to persuade government functionaries to reward their friends and punish their enemies.

In any case, the public should expect maximum transparency from government officials. In that spirit, the Attorneys General United for Clean Power will doubtlessly soon release their Common Interest Agreements pertaining to consultations with activist groups formulating demands that ExxonMobil turn over documents concerning its contacts with think tanks, scholars, and others who have been skeptical of catastrophic man-made warming.

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  1. Regulators talk to and solicit input from industry all of the time.

    1. This.

      Also Getting cozy with regulators results in the opposite of what progs think it does…reality would mean more regs to reduce competition if they are cozy.

      Progs dont seem to understand if they want regulations you are going to need input of industry

      1. Exactly. Who do they think writes the actual regulations?

        1. You can say that again…

      2. Exactly. Who do they think writes the actual regulations?

        1. Its okay when Democrat politicians “work” with alternate energy guys like Elon Musk.

          Its all crony capitalism and should stopped. The easiest way is to shrink government and it power to craft so much legislation.

    2. EPA regime never consulted with solar or wind interests when thinking up Clean Power Plan. The Department of Energy guys there at same time handing out checks never saw a thing.

    3. This is something that I remember my gov’t teacher in high school covering well- You wouldn’t want a regulator who hasn’t worked in the biz because they don’t understand what it is they’re regulating, but someone who has worked in the biz will naturally have potential conflicts of interest. Basically he described it as a problem with no perfect solution.

      1. Well you could limit regulations so that they only lay out a framework for people to seek compensation for actual damages.

  2. The EPA isn’t accustomed to operating with input from the general public. If they cared what anybody thought about what they were doing they’d have a notice-and-comment process instead of injunction-created rules process of financing friendly lawsuits.

    1. The left is pissed in this case because he probably met with people they don’t like. Had he met with the ones they like then this stuff would be encouraged. Double standards, because that’s the only one they have..

  3. Js: Both of you are, of course, correct.

    1. And this coming from an agency which wanted to reinterpret the CAA to include CO2 and which wanted the CWA to include any pond or water source anywhere.

  4. None of these people ever seem to think the problem is an agency that can create regulation by fiat – the problem is always ‘getting the right person into the job’.

    1. ^^^^THIS^^^^

  5. Turns out he is also a subscriber to Pewdiepie’s Youtube.

    1. Did he make jokes about Jews? Or raise his arm?

  6. To progressives, business can only hurt the environment. Business owners are so greedy that they would pollute the earth until everything was extinct. This is why they need groups like NRDC to help the EPA regulate these icky businesses and the businesses should have no input.

    Mr. Pruitt, I hope you gut the EPA.

  7. I saw an ad from one of the environmental groups urging me to contact my congressman or something regarding my concerns about any rollback of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act which has done so much to clean up the environment, with no suggestion that clean air and clean water come at a price and maybe I should consider the trade-offs involved in the marginal snail-darter versus the marginal factory. The EPA has a mandate for cleaner air and water and no matter how clean it gets there’s always a little more you can do if money is no object. For regular folks who have to consider costs, I’d guess we’re long past “clean enough”.

    The faked diesel engine tests are a case in point – the fact that apparently every single diesel manufacturer had to fake the test to pass ought to be a clue that the standards are unobtainable. You simply can’t get low emissions and high performance out of an affordable car. The EPA only cares about one of those things.

    1. You simply can’t get low emissions and high performance out of an affordable car. The EPA only cares about one of those things.

      Fuck, man, you’re allowed two from the list.

  8. That’s some top quality shameless hypocrisy from NRDC there.

  9. I’m sure the outrage machine would be the same if they consulted with other stakeholders, like Green Peace or the Sierra Club, or if the EPA leadership included people that had ties or even been former members of such groups, amirite?

    1. No you don’t get it. When enviro groups sue the EPA, it’s righteous work on behalf of Gaia. When a State AG from an energy-producing State sues the EPA, it’s dumping drums of arsenic and lead into waterways all the way down. Forget that chartreuse-colored river over there.

  10. Thank you for the article completely devoid of pants shitting, Ron. In between the theatrics, Pruitt’s emphasis on championing the rule of law all through his Senaate confirmation hearing was really nice to listen to.

  11. Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “These [Pruitt] emails tell us that he’s in league with the very industries we’ve now entrusted him to police.”

    Perhaps that is what is needed. Who told the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council that the purpose of the EPA is to police people, or companies?

  12. I confess that I have not read through all [7,000] of the emails,

    Such failure can not be forgiven. I announce that I am hereby selectively outraged.

  13. Goose…..gander.

  14. In that spirit, the Attorneys General United for Clean Power will doubtlessly soon release their Common Interest Agreements pertaining to consultations with activist groups formulating demands that ExxonMobil turn over documents concerning its contacts with think tanks, scholars, and others who have been skeptical of catastrophic man-made warming.

    I read this sentence 12 times, but I still can’t work it out.

    1. The Attorneys General should be RICO’d.

  15. the Attorneys General United for Clean Power will doubtlessly soon release their Common Interest Agreements

    ha! good one, RB.

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