Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal
battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that
fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr.
Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused
global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord
committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate
change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy,
the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.”
Mr. Pruitt has been in lock step with those views.
The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney
General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation:
Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air
pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas
wells in his state.
But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter
was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest
oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief
“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed
government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr.
Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken
Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with
only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the
attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is
great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the
Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to
Attorney General Pruitt.”