March 02, 2018
By Evan Halper –
As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt jetted around the country last year, regularly flying first or business class at hefty taxpayer expense, his stated mission was often a noble one: to hear from Americans about how Washington could most effectively and fairly enforce the Clean Water Act.
Yet when Pruitt showed up in North Dakota in August to seek guidance on how to rewrite a landmark Obama-era water protection rule, it was clear there were some voices he did not care to hear.
The general public was barred from participating in the roundtable Pruitt presided over at the University of North Dakota. An EPA official even threatened to call security on reporters who tried to linger.
What happened at the meeting is still a mystery to all but the invitees, a list dominated by industry and Pruitt’s political allies. The same is true of many of the other 16 such roundtables Pruitt held as he developed his plan to weaken a federal rule that protects the drinking water of 117 million Americans.