NRDC Files FOIA Request Related to EPA Press Release Announcing Pruitt

Release on New EPA Head’s Confirmation Bashed Own Agency

WASHINGTON (February 22, 2017) – The Natural Resources Defense Council today filed a Freedom of Information Act request for materials and communications related to the creation of a press release announcing Scott Pruitt as the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In a highly unusual move, EPA repeatedly criticized itself throughout its own press release.

The following is a statement by Aaron Colangelo, Co-Director of Litigation at NRDC:

“Scott Pruitt accepted his new role by publicly thumbing his nose at the agency he was appointed to lead. This is unheard of and extremely alarming. EPA is tasked with safeguarding Americans’ drinking water, keeping our air safe to breathe, and protecting people’s health from industries that can do us great harm. We want to know who and what is motivating the agency’s new leader to undermine EPA’s mission before he even gets started.”

In the press release, EPA endorsed statements calling itself  “tone deaf,” “rogue,” “one of the most vilified agencies in the ‘swamp’ of overreaching government,” and a “runaway bureaucracy largely out of touch with how its policies directly affect folks like cattle ranchers.”

Among other things, NRDC is using FOIA to request communications regarding the creation of the press release between President Trump’s EPA and members of the fossil fuel, automotive and meat industries.

A copy of the FOIA request is here.

EPA’s press release announcing Pruitt’s confirmation is here.




The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.