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hand it over

Trump's EPA pick Scott Pruitt must release correspondence with oil and gas companies

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, must hand over thousands of emails related to his communication with representatives of the gas, oil, and coal industry, an Oklahoma judge ruled Thursday.

The Center for Media and Democracy filed a lawsuit after Pruitt refused to release the emails under public records laws. The judge gave Pruitt's office until Tuesday to turn over the records, but the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on his confirmation Friday. "A rushed Senate vote to confirm Pruitt as EPA Administrator right now would be a travesty," Elizabeth Thompson, president of climate and political affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement. "The documents in question are related to Pruitt's fitness to serve as head of EPA. Senators should exercise due diligence when confirming nominees, and they can't do that when they've been denied access to relevant information."

Pruitt sued the EPA several times during the Obama administration, and received more than $300,000 from oil and gas companies during his campaigns. In 2014, The New York Times reported that a letter supposedly written by Pruitt, claiming that the EPA overestimated air pollution from natural gas drilling, was really written by lawyers at one of Oklahoma's largest oil and gas companies, Devon Energy.