Global News

Pruitt Bypassed WH Opposition, Gave Pay Raises to Close Aides

Pruitt Bypassed WH Opposition, Gave Pay Raises to Close Aides

"We're ready to file suit if needed to protect these critical standards and to fight the Administration's war on our environment", Becerra said in a statement.

"We're focused on supporting the policy agenda" - and not the news reports about Pruitt, said Myron Ebell, with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. That message was reinforced by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in a telephone call to Pruitt on Tuesday morning.

Earlier a report said that the White House is reviewing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's activities after reports he paid below the market rate to live in a condo owned by a lobbyist who deals with issues overseen by the agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing an unnamed White House official.

Those officials added that the call's tone was not entirely positive - and that the White House is displeased by the cloud over Pruitt.

Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, said her state "will vigorously defend the existing clean vehicle standards".

"I hope he's going to be great", Trump told reporters, declining to reiterate publicly his private praise for Pruitt's work.

The White House did not respond to a request for specific comment on the new questions being raised about the EPA head.

Unhealthy lifestyles giving rise to 2500 cancer cases a week
These figures show that we each can take positive steps to help reduce our individual risk of the disease. Dealing with smoking , obesity and alcohol consumption could make the biggest difference.

Records show the powerhouse lobbying firm where Hart serves as chairman and CEO, Williams and Jensen PLLC, represents companies that include Exxon Mobil and Cheniere Energy Inc.

Pruitt also is coming under withering criticism for renting a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist under unconventional lease terms that permitted him to pay $50 only on days it was actually occupied - with a total of $6,100 in payments over a roughly six-month period. Pruitt's landlords, the Harts, were among his political donors when he was an Oklahoma state official. But under the new administration, they have urged Pruitt and Trump to ease the Obama standards so it becomes easier and less costly to meet targets. Officials said he did not disclose his housing situation to at the time. But Trump is known to change course quickly, and there was little optimism inside the White House that Pruitt's standing would remain on solid ground. CBS News first reported on the calls.

At an invitation-only event at the EPA headquarters, Pruitt promised automakers and dealers that he would keep listening to their objections to the Obama administration's rules and rewrite them in a way that the industry would see as more palatable.

But two other officials, also without authority to be identified, said the praise referred to Pruitt's work in loosening environmental regulations that the Trump administration has argued hamstring manufacturers and in provoking blowback from environmental groups.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox has said the arrangement was not a gift and the lease was "consistent with federal ethics regulations".

"To have arbitrary percentages of our fleet made up of vehicles that aren't going to be purchased", Pruitt said, would be counterproductive. But Trump is much fonder of Pruitt, and even recently floated him as a potential replacement for Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department. Helping to insulate Pruitt is that "he is at the forefront of implementing the president's agenda". The pay raises for both were processed less than two weeks after Pruitt had sought White House approval, The Atlantic reported.