NRDC Sues EPA for Failing to Respond to Freedom of Information Act Requests

WASHINGTON – The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit today asking a federal court to order the release of records addressing whether Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is adhering to ethical obligations, and whether he is favoring industry stakeholders.

In filing today’s suit, Jon Devine, senior attorney at NRDC said:

“Scott Pruitt’s EPA sounds more like an industry association than a public health agency. The American public deserves to know what’s behind EPA’s decisions and statements that conflict with the agency’s long-standing mission. This reflects a core principle of a transparent government. We will continue to fight for American communities when Administrator Pruitt flouts the law and fails to protect our air, water, and land.”

The FOIA requests filed by NRDC that are at issue in this lawsuit are outlined below. The requests seek information about Administrator Pruitt’s conflict of interest with respect to any EPA lawsuit in which Oklahoma, his former client, is a party, and whether he is favoring stakeholders that share his ideology concerning regulatory matters. To view the full complaint, filed today in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York, click here.

  1. NRDC requested documents related to the agency’s February 17th press release announcing Pruitt’s “Ascension.”
  2. NRDC requested records that disclose Pruitt’s involvement, if any, in two pleadings filed by EPA in ongoing litigation over the Clean Water Rule, in which Oklahoma is a party.
  3. NRDC requested records that illustrate Pruitt’s participation in, recusal from, or receipt of an ethics waiver to participate in any litigation in which the State of Oklahoma is a party.
  4. NRDC requested the memo or memos referenced by Pruitt during a radio interview describing the agency’s settlement and consent decree policies.

To see a blog post by Jon Devine responding to a recent recusal memo from Administrator Pruitt, click 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.

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