Administrator Pruitt recuses himself from EPA court cases—but the fox remains in the henhouse

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has recused himself from participating in a dozen court cases currently before his agency—cases that he brought or participated in as Oklahoma attorney general. But he has not removed himself from making decisions to roll back the very regulations at stake in those cases. During his time as attorney general, Pruitt consistently sided with fossil fuel companies in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 14 times to block protections for clean air and clean water. His recusal letter thus only highlights Pruitt’s inherent conflicts of interest, which were major concerns during his Senate confirmation hearing, and his decision is in nominal compliance with conflict-of-interest rules. Of course, that hardly matters if he makes EPA’s regulatory decisions going forward. Due to his demonstrated hostility toward his the agency’s core mission of protecting public health and the environment and his longstanding ties to corporate polluters, Pruitt should recuse himself from all EPA policy matters—from review to enforcement—related to the cases he brought against the agency.

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