Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 15, 2017

Contact: Meg Townsend, (917) 717-6409,

EPA Refuses to Release Pruitt Emails, Leaves Public in Dark

PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed an administrative appeal with the Environmental Protection Agency today challenging the agency's refusal to release EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's emails and other correspondence following a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Center asked for Pruitt's correspondence since he took office Feb. 17, but the EPA is now refusing to begin the search for these public records, claiming the scope of the request was too broad.

“The public has every right to know who Scott Pruitt is corresponding with as he begins making decisions about the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate we all inhabit,” said Meg Townsend, the Center's open government attorney. “It's disturbing to see Pruitt's EPA throwing up roadblocks to the public's access to this information so early in his tenure. And it certainly doesn't bode well for the Trump administration's claims of an open government.”

The Center's Feb. 28 request seeks Pruitt's correspondence on EPA and any other accounts that address only work-related matters, all of which must be made public under the law. Of particular interest is Pruitt's correspondence on climate change, especially in the wake of his comments last week denying that humans play a driving role in global warming.

“By keeping the public in the dark about who Pruitt is talking to and what he's discussing, the EPA leaves the public with no way of knowing whether Pruitt's ties to Big Oil are improperly influencing him in his role at the EPA,” Townsend said.

This refusal by the EPA is particularly troubling since this week is known as Sunshine Week — a national, nonpartisan effort to highlight the critical role of open government and freedom of information and celebrate government transparency at the local, state and federal levels.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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