How can Pruitt sue himself? California wants to know.
The state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, filed a lawsuit on Friday to get the agency to say how it plans to handle Administrator Scott Pruitt’s potential conflicts of interest. Pruitt is now in charge of enforcing rules that he tried to unravel with numerous lawsuits as Oklahoma’s attorney general.
“Administrator Pruitt’s ability to serve as an impartial decision maker merits close examination,” Becerra said in a statement.
In April, Becerra filed a broad Freedom of Information Act request for documents tied to Pruitt’s potential conflicts of interest and efforts to follow federal ethics laws. Generally, agencies must respond to a FOIA request within 20 business days, though they have some wiggle room. But four months later, the EPA has yet to turn over anything.
Liz Bowman, an EPA spokesperson, told the Los Angeles Times that the agency had twice told Becerra’s office they were working on assembling the documents. She said the lawsuit was “draining resources that could be better spent protecting human health and the environment.”
The suit from the Golden State is just part of the legal backlash Pruitt’s staring down: He’s already been sued over ozone regulations and the suspension of methane restrictions for new oil and gas wells.