Politics & Government

Trump's EPA director to have private meeting with chemical execs at SC resort

In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. Pruitt is set to speak privately to chemical industry executives next week during a conference at a luxury oceanfront golf resort. Pruitt is listed as the featured speaker at board meeting of the American Chemistry Council, a group that has lobbied against stricter regulations for chemical manufacturers.
In this June 2, 2017, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. Pruitt is set to speak privately to chemical industry executives next week during a conference at a luxury oceanfront golf resort. Pruitt is listed as the featured speaker at board meeting of the American Chemistry Council, a group that has lobbied against stricter regulations for chemical manufacturers. File AP Photo

The director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will make a trip to South Carolina this week for a closed-door meeting with industry leaders at a coastal resort.

President Donald Trump’s EPA director, Scott Pruitt, will speak Thursday to a meeting of the American Chemistry Council at a golf resort on Kiawah Island.

This will be Pruitt’s second trip to South Carolina for a private meeting with business leaders. In July, Pruitt was in Orangeburg to discuss rolling back federal wetland protections with energy, construction and agribusiness leaders along with S.C. officials – but not conservation groups.

Pruitt’s latest hosts are a trade association for chemical manufacturers meeting on the S.C. coast.

The former Oklahoma attorney general has taken several actions favorable to the chemical industry since joining the administration, the Washington Post reports. The EPA has delayed by two years a chemical safety rule, formulated during the Obama administration.

In March, Pruitt withdrew a petition to ban the pesticide clorpyrifos, which the EPA had determined posed potential health risks to fetal neurological development. Agency officials now are re-evaluating the science behind that determination.

Council spokeswoman Anne Kolton told the Associated Press that Pruitt's speech will not be open to the public or the news media. Admission to the members-only event where Pruitt is speaking ranges between $2,500 and $7,500, depending on sponsorship level.

Rooms at the resort are being offered to conference attendees at a discounted rate of $389 a night, not including taxes and fees.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox declined to provide the AP with an estimate of the total cost of the trip. But, he said, “We are staying within the government per diem and, in this instance, that is $135 for lodging.”

Travel and lodging expenses for Pruitt, four aides and his security team will be paid by taxpayers.

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