p Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt sent a memo to agency employees last week saying that he would recuse himself from lawsuits that he brought against the Agency as Oklahoma Attorney General, according to Reuters.
In his Senate confirmation hearing in January, Pruitt hadn’t definitively stated that he would step back from all the lawsuits against the very agency he was about to head.
Instead, he said that he would defer to the EPA’s ethics counsel, which stated that he must recuse himself from lawsuits brought against the agency in the year previous.
In a four-page recusal memo sent on Thursday (PDF), which E News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Pruitt said that he would “not participate in any active cases in which Oklahoma is a party, petitioner, or intervenor.” The Administrator listed twelve cases, including three involving Murray Energy Corp., one of the largest coal mining companies in the US, as well as a case involving Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing.
Pruitt also tied up some other loose ends last week, issuing a clarification of testimony he gave to senators in January regarding his use of personal e-mail to conduct state matters.
At the time, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D- RI) asked Pruitt to respond in writing to a question about whether Pruitt had ever used private e-mail, text, or other communication channels to conduct business in his capacity as Oklahoma Attorney General.