Some eyebrows are being raised after documents released under the Freedom of Information Act showed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with an Israeli company last year at the request of multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
Sometime after the meeting, the EPA signed a research agreement with the company to study the firm’s atmospheric water generator, a device that pulls drinkable water out of the air.
Adelson, considered by Forbes this year to be the 19th richest person in the world is also a major donor to the Republican party.
The company in question is Water-Gen, which sent four water generators to Texas and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017.
Defending the agreement, Pruitt issued a statement, “EPA believes in facilitating cooperative research efforts that will foster innovative solutions to pressing environmental issues and looks forward to working with other companies and organizations on technology development efforts.”
He contends the devices made by Water-Gen could be useful after large-scale disasters that affect clean water supplies.
The meeting took place on March 29, 2017 and copies of Pruitt’s calendar indicated it was “as a request of Sheldon Adelson.” The calendar was released after a lawsuit was filed by activists.
A report by Politico indicated Adelson’s relationship with the company was not clear. But prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz is a member of Water-Gen’s board of directors and reportedly pushed the technology at last year’s gathering of American Israel Public Affairs Committee two days before the meeting with Pruitt.
The EPA research agreement was signed in January but not announced until two months later.