EPA chief Scott Pruitt to speak at CERAWeek in Houston

Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, arrives at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump, whose victory last month was greeted with a surge in pharmaceutical stocks, declared himself an opponent of high drug prices in an interview with Time magazine. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg, Pool

Scott Pruitt, the new and controversial chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will address oil and gas leaders at CERAWeek in Houston this week, his first public address to the industry.

Pruitt, the former Oklahoma Attorney General who sued the Obama administration over climate and environmental policies, was sworn in about two weeks ago, and has spoken publicly only to EPA employees and the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

He is scheduled to speak on environmental policy at CERAWeek, one of the industry’s largest conferences, on Thursday at 12:45 p.m.

The 36th annual CERAWeek, hosted by the research firm IHS Markit, opens Monday.

The conference agenda added Pruitt recently.

As attorney general, Pruitt was openly critical of the EPA’s work, vocally skeptical about climate change and sued the EPA more than a dozen times during President Barack Obama’s two terms.

But his speech to EPA employees two weeks ago was conciliatory. And the CERAWeek agenda suggests the same, describing his work to examine water quality of the Illinois River, which runs through Oklahoma, and settle a water rights dispute between the state, Oklahoma City and the Choctaw and Chicksaw Tribal Nations.

Pruitt, the agenda says, “believes that promoting and protecting a strong and healthy environment is among the lifeblood priorities of the government, and that EPA is vital to that mission.”

“As Administrator, Mr. Pruitt’s overarching goal is to lead EPA in a way so that our future generations inherit a better and healthier environment,” it continues.

The agenda also references his fight over “unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government.”

“He is recognized as a national leader,” the agenda concludes, “in the cause to restore the proper balance between the states and federal government.”

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