Trump’s EPA Chief Now Under Investigation For Meeting With Coal Lobbyists

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is being investigated by the agency’s own watchdog for his relationship with a coal mining industry group.

The EPA’s inspector general is investigating an April 2017 meeting between Pruitt, who was named to his post by President Donald Trump, and a coal mining industry group that may have violated anti-lobbying laws pertaining to government officials.

EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. confirmed in a letter released by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee that his office “will review the single meeting between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the National Mining Association in April 10.”

After meeting with Pruitt, the group pressed Trump to pull out of the UN Paris Climate Accord — a decision he announced later in the spring — and Pruitt reportedly encouraged the group to do so.

Democrats asked the Government Accountability Office to submit a legal opinion on whether Pruitt’s alleged actions would violate the anti-lobbying law, and are seeking a “comprehensive factual record” from the inspector general to help examine the matter.

“The GAO stated to us that it could and would use the factual record regarding that meeting to conduct its analysis,” Elkins said in the letter.

As attorney general of Okahoma, Pruitt maintained very close ties with the fossil fuel industry, emails have revealed, and he had previously sued the administration he now leads more than a dozen times — often to the benefit of fossil fuel companies.