Six Democratic senators are asking Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency to answer questions about whether his ties to the fossil fuel industry might influence his work before confirmation hearings begin.
Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee sent a letter Dec. 27 to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asking about a 2014 investigative article by the New York Times reporting an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” between Pruitt and other Republican attorneys’ general and top energy producers to resist President Obama’s agenda to reduce America’s reliance on carbon-based fuels.
The senators also raised questions about Pruitt’s relationship to the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a nonprofit public policy organization funded in part by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch.
Pruitt, a Southern Baptist layman who serves on the board of trustees at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., is also expected to face questions about a National Review article he co-wrote in May questioning scientific consensus linking rising global temperatures to the burning of fossil fuels.
In December nearly 50 Southern Baptist Convention leaders defended Pruitt in an open letter arguing the deacon at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla., “is well qualified” to run the EPA and “deserves the full support of the United States Senate in his confirmation.”
Pruitt’s official biography describes him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” He is part of a coalition of state attorneys general currently suing the EPA over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to achieve promises made in the 2015 Paris climate accords.