The Justice Department is being asked by an environmental group to investigate whether EPA nominee Scott Pruitt violated laws during his confirmation hearing by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The Environmental Working Group submitted a letter Wednesday to the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section. It asked to have Pruitt, the Oklahoma Attorney General, investigating to see if he knowingly and willfully made “any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation” or made “any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.”
In other words, did he lie to the committee. The EWG stated that Pruitt had previously denied the EPS should not regulate mercury emissions when in fact he had argued in a legal filing that the EPA violated the law by regulating mercury.
It questioned exactly how many legal actions he took part in against the EPA. The letter said Pruitt had “personally and substantially” participated in 10 legal actions but the EWG said by Pruitt’s own count his office was a party to 17 legal actions against the EPA.
The group raised questions about his testimony regarding enforcement of pollution laws on Oklahoma’s Illinois River. It also said he did not tell the truth about the settlement of some environmental enforcement actions regarding polluters of the river.
Also on Wednesday, 15 other environmental groups announced they planned to deliver one million signed petitions to the Senate in opposition to confirmation of Pruitt. They included the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice and NextGen Climate.