WASHINGTON – After sitting on an open records request for more than a year, the Oklahoma attorney general’s office – occupied until a week ago by Scott Pruitt, now head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – now says it’s too busy to release more of the emails showing Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the fossil fuel industry. EWG President Ken Cook said he wasn’t surprised.
“When you repeatedly fail to respond to requests to make documents public, things tend to back up,” Cook said. “The initial batch of emails from earlier this week was basically a big, long bear hug between Pruitt and oil and gas companies, so it’s not a surprise to see this desperate attempt to stop the rest of the emails from seeing the light of day.”
The Huffington Post reported today that the attorney general’s office – now headed by Republican Mike Hunter – filed a petition asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s order to release the rest of more than 7,500 pages of emails and other documents requested by the Center for Media and Democracy. Emails released earlier this week detailed how during Pruitt’s tenure, he and energy companies colluded in efforts to block EPA’s clean air and water rules.
In its petition, the attorney general’s office argued “The District Court’s [order] subjects the [AG’s office] to a nearly Herculean task of responding to five large open records requests in a ten-day period — and ignoring all other [Open Records Act] requests submitted by other parties prior to [the Center for Media and Democracy’s] various requests.”