Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Goal: Tell Pruitt to step down from his position due to his false testimony regarding the use of private emails to conduct official business.
The new head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, appears to have lied during his confirmation hearings for his position. During testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Pruitt had stated he had only used his official email account to conduct business as Oklahoma Attorney General. However, a review of thousands of emails that Pruitt had sent as the attorney general has shown that this was not true. The emails reveal that not only did Pruitt use his private email to communicate with staff, but that he also communicated and strategized with various fossil fuel industry representatives, such as the American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers trade association, in order to come up with talking points for opposing environmental regulations.
Pruitt’s dishonest testimony not only calls his credibility into question — it is also illegal. A false statement to a government agency is a crime, which can carry severe penalties as shown in the case of Henry Cisneros, who was indicted for lying to FBI investigators during his confirmation process for the position of Secretary for Housing and Urban Development in 1992. Pruitt’s statements should be subject to a bipartisan commission and full investigation, but in the meantime, it is clear that his suitability for the position as Administrator of the EPA is in doubt.
Pruitt has shown contempt and disregard for the EPA, and previously sued the agency multiple times for enforcing regulations. He has also enjoyed a cozy relationship with a number of fossil fuel corporations, including the billionaire Koch brothers of Koch Industries, a major oil company. The latest revelation that he used his private email to coordinate with fossil fuel industry lobbyists and heads is shocking, but perhaps not surprising. It is simply one more reason why Pruitt should not be in charge of an agency he has sought time and again to destroy.
Corruption and behind-the-scenes meddling with fossil fuel giants to navigate around environmental rules is not the appropriate behavior for someone in charge of the EPA. Sign this petition to demand that Scott Pruitt step down from this position immediately.
Dear Mr. Pruitt,
You delivered false testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee when you stated that you had only conducted official business as Oklahoma Attorney General using your official work email and phone. The Associated Press has revealed through a public records request that you, in fact, used private email repeatedly to communicate with staff and lobbyists, at times using the email to coordinate with fossil fuel industry representatives to devise talking points for opposing environmental protections.
Providing false statements before a government agency is a crime under section 1001 of the criminal code. There should be a bipartisan commission to investigate this matter, but until such time, it is unethical for you to remain in your position as Administrator of the EPA, especially given the fact that you used private emails to work with the fossil fuel industry to come up with strategies to dismantle environmental rules.
We need an Administrator for the EPA who we can count on to put the country’s best interests ahead of lobbyists, and who above all, can be trusted. Due to your dishonest statements, and the contempt you have shown for the agency you now head, I urge you to resign promptly and to allow for a full investigation to proceed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore