The Republican who oversees the EPA in the Senate blasted two of his Democratic colleagues Tuesday for releasing information about agency head Scott Pruitt’s security.
Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse’s decision to publicize the information was “deeply” troubling, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said in statement. Barrasso chairs the Committee on Environment and Public Works, which oversees the EPA.
“I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a Cabinet member and his family,” Barrasso said of Whitehouse and Carper, both whom are members on the committee. “This letter selectively quotes non-public documents.”
Internal EPA records question the assertion that Pruitt has faced an “unprecedented” number of death threats and that the agency “has identified specific, ongoing threats associated with the administrator’s air travel,” the two Democrats wrote in a memo Tuesday morning to Barrasso.
“These assertions do not appear to be consistent with the non-public EPA documents we have obtained,” they added. Barrasso didn’t buy their conclusion, noting in his statement that the documents only supported Pruitt’s requests for round-the-clock security.
“Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a ‘variety of direct death threats,” read the statement. Barrasso, Whitehouse, and Carper were hashing out elements of recent reports showing physical threats against Pruitt are on the rise.
Threats against officials at the agency and Pruitt have spiked 50 percent during the past year. EPA’s Office of Inspector General launched more than 70 investigations into threats against Pruitt and others at the agency, an Oct. 6 NBC report noted. None of the threats resulted in injuries, but they were deemed legitimate risks to officials.
Most of the threats stem from the politically volatile atmosphere created after President Donald Trump started rolling back several of his Democratic predecessor’s climate regulations.
Trump and Pruitt have managed to nix more than 50 of former President Barack Obama’s environmental regulations, including the Paris climate agreement and the so-called Clean Power Plan both of which targeted emissions from coal power plants across the country.
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