Energy

Enviros Buy Airtime On Shows Trump Watches To Get EPA’s Scott Pruitt Fired

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Environmentalists have launched their latest attempt to get Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt fired, buying airtime on cable news shows President Donald Trump is known to watch.

The Sierra Club aired a TV ad on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” The ads will air Wednesday through Friday as part of the “Boot Pruitt Campaign.”

However, the Sierra Club’s TV ad doesn’t focus on Pruitt’s policies as EPA chief, but instead highlights disparaging comments he made against Trump during the 2016 primaries and his penchant for flying first-class on flights.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said the focus on Pruitt’s first-class flights and primary remarks were meant to get Trump’s attention.

“We don’t think that’s something even [Trump] can ignore. There’s no question that it’s past time to boot Pruitt,” Brune said in a statement.

The TV ad only makes a brief mention of Pruitt’s rolling back of environmental regulations, ominously showing a young girl drinking a glass of water as the word “dangerous” appears in bright red.

Will their attacks on Pruitt work? Probably not, as environmental groups have been trying for months to get the former Oklahoma attorney general fired since he took office.

Environmentalists and other groups spent about $784,000 on television ads opposed to Pruitt’s nomination, according to estimates. Only former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saw more negative airtime purchased against him —  $851,000.

Calls for Pruitt’s resignation only intensified after former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned after it came to light he spent $400,000 on chartered flights during his short time in office. Pruitt was also found to have spent big on air travel.

Environmental groups have handed Freedom of Information Act requests to news outlets to highlight Pruitt’s spending on first-class travel and his security detail. The Washington Post reported Pruitt’s trip to Italy for the G7 summit cost $120,000, including $36,000 for a military jet flight and $30,000 for his security detail.

In total, Pruitt spent more than $100,000 on first-class travel. EPA said Pruitt traveled first class due to security concerns and that the travel was arranged by career officials. Pruitt’s since promised to fly coach.

Obama administration EPA heads spent nearly $1 million on foreign travel, according to agency records. Lisa Jackson spent $332,111 and Gina McCarthy spent $629,736 on overseas trips, including security detail costs.

“You mention $100,000?” Pruitt recently told KMOX’s Mark Reardon, defending his spending on travel to the G7 summit. “They spent a million dollars on foreign trips during their time.”

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