Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Scott Pruitt unapologetically defends EPA tenure amid blistering criticism

Scott Pruitt unapologetically defends EPA tenure amid blistering criticism

While previous EPA guidance warned against exposure at levels above 70 parts per trillion, the new HHS report said the chemical could be harmful for infants and breastfeeding mothers at just one-sixth of that level, Politico reported.

Udall also asked Pruitt how he came to pay below-market rent for a condo owned by a lobbyist with business before the EPA.

Elkins wrote Monday in response to questions from Sens.

In terms of the FY2019 budget, many topics were line items dealing with matters that the senator felt related to Pruitt's past promises, stating "when you [Pruitt] were before the committee a year ago, you said that you would work to return the EPA to its core mission of ensuring clean water, clean air, and clean land, something that we all encourage and support". "I want to rectify those going forward". "Because of a danger to you, you had to fly first class". Both of them, as well as Capitol Hill resident Laurie Solnik, who showed her apartment to Pruitt at Hupp's request, said Hupp primarily used a personal e-mail account and phone to conduct the search.

"I'm being asked, really constantly asked, to comment on housing, security and travel. I'm reading about your interactions with representatives of the industries that you regulate" Murkowski told Pruitt at a hearing normally expected to focus on budget matters.

Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat who has called on Pruitt to resign, asked him about reports he liked his motorcade to use the vehicles' flashing lights and sirens to cut through traffic. He began by citing the Government Accountability Office's recent finding that EPA's purchase of a $43,000 private office booth for telephone calls broke federal law because the agency failed to notify Congress in advance of an expenditure exceeding a $5,000 cap on spending for office renovations.

Udall pointed out that Pruitt - the former attorney general Oklahoma - should have known better.

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Pruitt repeated the claim that the extraordinary spending on his personal security was needed because the threats against him have been "unprecedented in terms of quantity and type". He also detailed a whirlwind of action at EPA since his last appearances at congressional hearings three weeks ago: creating a new office to streamline agency operations, plans to restrict the sale of the deadly paint-stripper chemical methylene chloride and reform of EPA's air quality standards. The objective of the office, he says, is "to make sure, as we do our work here, that we set real goals and we track those goals and show real improvement".

Because if there's one thing that Scott Pruitt has left pristine in his scandal-filled tenure as EPA head, it's the organization's reputation.

President Donald Trump said last week he continues to have confidence in Pruitt even as criticism of his EPA chief has increasingly been coming from fellow Republicans.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member on the full Appropriations Committee, said Pruitt has become a "laughingstock" along with his agency.

"What a silly reason you had to fly first class", Leahy said.

"He said 'nobody even knows who you are, '" Leahy recalled the constituent as saying.

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