You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Trump’s EPA is so sketchy, it literally won an award for it.

Aaron Bernstein/Getty

Scott Pruitt has won his first trophy since becoming Environmental Protection Agency administrator. It is not for protecting the environment.

Investigative Reporters and Editors, a non-profit that seeks to improve the quality of investigative reporting, awarded Pruitt its so-called “Golden Padlock Award” on Monday. Journalists from BuzzFeed News, Politico, and the Center for Investigative Reporting were among the judges. Pruitt beat out four other finalists. 

Why is Pruitt considered so sketchy? As I’ve previously reported, Pruitt has a long history of evading public records requests and keeping his schedule secret, a tradition that started while he was Oklahoma attorney general and has continued at the EPA. E&E News recently released copies of Pruitt’s daily schedule from the first few weeks on the job, and it showed he held meetings with “an array” of energy, chemical, and other industry figures, including representatives from Duke Energy, Chevron, the American Petroleum Institute, Dow Chemical, Murray Energy, and BMW. Pruitt did not meet with any environmental interests during those weeks, according to the emails, though he has met with a few since then.  

The Washington Post also reported earlier this month that Pruitt “appears to have used two government email addresses while serving as attorney general of Oklahoma—despite telling the Senate that he used only one government email address during his time in that office.” And Pruitt’s email practices were already under scrutiny. In March, it was discovered that he had also used a personal email for business while Oklahoma attorney general, even though he previously denied it. That’s important because in 2014, emails from Pruitt’s attorney general account showed an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” with the fossil fuel company Devon Energy. That alliance was revealed by emails the New York Times obtained through an open-records request.

All that, plus Pruitt’s media aversion and history of industry favors, led to his award on Monday. It’s a win for the fossil-fuel industry, and a big loss for the public.