EPA Administrator Pruitt’s Secrecy Extends Even to Refusal to Release His Public Speeches

Environmental Integrity Project Forced to File Lawsuit Under Freedom of Information Act to Obtain Speeches that Pruitt Gave to Industry Groups

Washington, D.C. – The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) today filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its refusal to turn over the most obviously public of public records: Public speeches made by its administrator, Scott Pruitt.

While many former administrations routinely posted on the EPA website the speeches and public presentations made by the agency’s administrator, Mr. Pruitt has declined to do so, or to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by EIP on October 24 for speeches and other prepared remarks he has given to third parties in his role as EPA Administrator.

To date, EIP has received no determination letter, request for clarification, or notification of or request for an extension from EPA regarding the FOIA – although, by law, the agency is required to respond within 20 days.

“This stonewalling follows a pattern with Administrator Pruitt, who seems to have an obsession with secrecy,” said Mary Greene, Deputy Director of the Environmental Integrity Project.  “Pruitt meets and speaks frequently with industry groups – but not public health or environmental advocates – and then makes decisions that benefit only industry, while ignoring the broader American public he’s supposed to serve.”

EIP is asking the courts to rule that EPA’s failure to respond in a timely manner to the organization’s request is an improper withholding of public records and a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the speeches that EIP is requesting are presentations that Pruitt gave to several groups seeking deregulatory actions by the Trump Administration, including the American Farm Bureau, on February 28; the Edison Electric Institute, on March 14; the American Petroleum Institute, on March 22; the National Well Strippers, on March 23; Consol Energy, on April 13; and the National Mining Association, on April 24.

“When you look at who Administrator Pruitt is meeting and having conversations with, it is clear that average citizens do not have his ear – it’s big business and the fossil fuels industry,” said Greene.  “We think that American citizens – who are Mr. Pruitt’s boss – have a right to know what their employee is promising to these groups.”

Below is a list of some of the organizations to which Pruitt has given speeches that EIP is seeking through its public records request:

Feb. 28: American Farm Bureau Board Meeting, Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, MD

March 6: National Association of Manufacturers, Phoenician Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ

March 9: Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Hilton Americas – Houston, TX

March 14: Edison Electric Institute, Mandarin Hotel, DC

March 22: American Petroleum Institute’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors Dinner, Trump International Hotel, DC

March 23: National Stripper Well Association, Bricktown Embassy Suites, OK

March 29: Oklahoma Farm Bureau, EPA HQ, DC

March 30: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Legislative Conference, Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, DC

March 31: Federalist Society, Tony Cheng’s, DC

April 5: Ag America Caucus Leadership, J.W. Marriott, DC

April 5: Fuels America Coalition, EPA HQ, DC

April 13: Consol Energy, Jimmy Brock and 300 coal miners, Harvey Mine, PA

April 21: National Association of Royalty Owners Convention, Embassy Suites Norman Hotel & Convention Center, OK

April 24: National Mining Association Executive Committee, Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, FL

April 26: Alliance Resource Partners LP Board of Directors Meeting, Trump International Hotel, DC

May 4: American Forest and Paper Association, Washington, DC

May 9: Portland Cement Association, Marriott, DC

May 15: National Association of Chemical Distributors Board, EPA HQ, DC

May 16: Western Growers, EPA HQ, DC

May 18: United Egg Producers, EPA HQ, DC

May 22: Congressional Coal Caucus, Capitol Hill, DC

May 22: Large Public Power Council, Washington, DC

May 23: American Iron and Steel, Washington, DC

May 23: Congressional Western Caucus Meeting, Capitol Hill, DC

May 24: American Exploration & Production Council, Capitol Hill, DC

May 24: Energy and Environment Symposium, The City Club of Washington, DC

May 24: Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, EPA HQ, DC

May 25: International Association of Drilling Contractors, EPA HQ, DC

May 25: US Oil and Gas Association Board of Directors and Executive Committee Annual Meeting, Washington, DC

June 14: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Board, EPA HQ, DC

June 20: National Association of Manufacturers, EPA HQ, DC

June 29: American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Board Meeting, EPA HQ, DC

June 30: Manhattan Institute, Manhattan Institute, NY

July 11: Americans for Tax Reform, EPA HQ, DC

July 11: National Farm Bureau’s State Leadership Meeting, Gaylord National Resort, National Harbor, MD

July 12: National Turkey Federation Annual Leadership Conference, Washington Court Hotel, DC

July 20: Waters of the U.S. Roundtable, Arkansas Poultry Federation, AR

August 2: Liberty Mine, Liberty Mine, IN

September 13: Conservative Action Project, Washington, DC

September 25: National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, DC

October 4: Occidental Petroleum Board of Directors, Washington, DC

October 5: National Association of Home Builders, Colorado Springs, CO

October 6: Arizona Manufacturers Council, Phoenix, AZ

October 9: Agriculture Roundtable, Georgetown, KY

October 12: Roundtable with Mississippi Farm Bureau, Jackson, MS

October 13: Biodiesel Fuels Board, EPA HQ, DC

October 17: Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC

October 19: Roundtable with San Jacinto Community Groups, Houston, TX

October 19: Texas Oil and Gas Association, The Woodlands, TX

October 23: Tennessee Farm Bureau, Nashville, TN

October 27: Louisiana Chemical Association/Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance, New Orleans, LA

October 27: Business Roundtable, New Orleans, LA

October 30: Interstate Mining Compact Commission, Washington Court Hotel, DC

November 9: American Chemistry Council, Kiawah Island, SC

The Environmental Integrity Project is a 15-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, based in Washington D.C., dedicated to enforcing environmental laws and holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health.

Media contact: Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org or (202) 888-2703