(Washington, D.C. – June 20, 2017) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to follow long-standing EPA practice and make his calendar public, as well as the calendars of his senior officials.
EDF submitted a letter detailing the long history of EPA leadership making their schedules public and calling on Administrator Pruitt to continue this practice. EDF also submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the public records of Administrator Pruitt’s calendar.
“Scott Pruitt has departed from a long-standing, bipartisan practice that is vital for bedrock transparency. He has instead chosen to keep Americans in the dark about his activities,” said EDF Senior Attorney Martha Roberts. “EPA has an important job to do on behalf of the American public — protecting our communities from dangerous pollution in our air, water, and land. Without information on the activities of Pruitt and his senior staff, the public cannot have full confidence that EPA’s leadership is working on their behalf.”
Last week a copy of the first five weeks of Administrator Pruitt’s calendar was made public as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the media. Those calendar entries show a steady stream of meetings with industry representatives. Administrator Pruitt gathered with the American Petroleum Institute board of directors at the Trump Hotel, traveled to numerous industry events, and frequently hosted executives at EPA.
This development follows reports that have emerged over the course of Administrator Pruitt’s tenure that underscore the need for transparency and raise serious questions about potential abuse of EPA’s limited resources for activity that contravenes important ethical or legal restrictions. For example, Administrator Pruitt was on the verge of attending a partisan fundraiser in his official capacity — in violation of Hatch Act requirements — until his participation emerged in the press and he withdrew.
EDF’s requests aim to rectify the limited and out-of-date information available to the public on Administrator Pruitt’s activities by obtaining records of his calendar through the present day, and by assuring the on-going public availability of his calendar in the future.
Previous EPA Administrators of both parties have made their schedules public. The practice began with President Ronald Reagan’s EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus who, in his 1983 “Fishbowl Memo,” laid out crucial EPA transparency measures.
Administrator Pruitt was specifically asked during his Senate confirmation hearings to commit to maintaining a public schedule. He did not indicate that he would break with the long-standing bipartisan tradition to share senior managers’ calendars.
However, Administrator Pruitt has discontinued the important EPA transparency practice of making his and senior managers’ calendars available to the public. The policy change is illustrated by these two snapshots of EPA’s website from six months apart.
And the same page today:
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