Center for Media and Democracy released 7,564 pages of e-mails
Organization sued to get documents from Oklahoma state
Newly installed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt closely coordinated with major oil and gas companies, refiners and groups linked to the billionaire Koch brothers to combat environmental regulations during his time as Oklahoma attorney general, according to thousands of pages of e-mails released Wednesday.
The documents, released under court order to the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog, follow a pitched battle over whether Pruitt should lead the Environmental Protection Agency, culminating in a narrow 52-46 vote Friday to confirm him.
Overall, the 7,564 pages of e-mails the center published online reveal a chummy relationship between Pruitt and an array of companies, including oil and gas producers active in Oklahoma. Officials at Devon Energy Corp.,Koch Industries Inc., the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and others at times counseled Pruitt on the best strategies for combating environmental regulations meant to protect the air and water — rules he is now tasked with overseeing as the EPA administrator.
Correspondence discussing talking points and arranging meetings on those policy matters are sprinkled with personal touches. For instance, Devon Energy representatives gave staff members in Pruitt’s office tips on the best Oklahoma City restaurants; one staff member asked for help taking her children to the top of Devon Tower. Other e-mails invited Pruitt staff to happy hours with an employee of the Oklahoma-based natural gas transporters Access Midstream Partners LP, which was later acquired by pipeline operator Williams Cos.