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Huge blocks of Scott Pruitt’s Moroccan trip calendar have been blacked out

Details about EPA’s chief trip to Morocco were hidden when sent to ABC news. Huge blocks of the calendars were blacked out raising more questions about what Scott Pruitt was doing in the Kingdom.

EPA's chief Scott Pruitt shaking hands with Justice Minister Mohamed Aujjar during a trip to Morocco./Ph. EPA
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is still at the heart of a corruption scandal because of a December trip to Morocco. Calendars providing details about his visit to the Kingdom which were sent by the agency to ABC News have been «largely blacked out», said the New York-based media company.

Returning to the U.S on the 13th of December from a work visit to Morocco, the Republican has been since then criticized for his travel expenses and for prioritizing the promotion of natural gas imports. The critics erupted when EPA shared a communiqué listing the meetings and activities Pruitt held while in the North African country.

Scott Pruitt, in fact, «outlined U.S. environmental priorities for updating the Environmental Work Plan under the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement and the potential benefit of liquified natural gas (LNG) imports on Morocco’s economy», explained the agency in the same press release.

Refusing to share parts of the calendar

However, when sharing the calendars for Pruitt’s Morocco trip, ABC stated that significant parts of the documents were hidden. Meanwhile, other sections gave details on a meeting he held with Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy CEO Mustapha Bakkoury.

Ph. ABC NewsPh. ABC News

«The substantial redaction of calendars from his trip to Morocco, in which he apparently spent substantial taxpayer money to work on an issue that could benefit donors and those with ties to him, seems like just the latest example of the inappropriate secrecy he has brought to every aspect of his job» executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington Noah Bookbinder, said in a statement quoted by the same source.

The agency refused to share a big part of Pruitt’s Moroccan calendar thanks to an «exception used to avoid releasing the details of internal policy discussions before they are finalized», said ABC insisting that the exemption was frequently utilized by EPA to «justify deletions throughout the 350 pages of schedules the EPA».

Promoting LNG exports

For the record Pruitt’s controversial trip to the Kingdom is investigated by the EPA’s inspector general alongside his travel expenses.

Earlier this month, Sheldon Whitehouse, serving as junior United States Senator from Rhode Island since 2007, sent a letter to the American agency questioning the reasons behind Pruitt’s December trip to the Kingdom after taking a look at the agency’s calendars

Whitehouse pointed out, in an article published by the Hill, that Pruitt and just days before going on this infamous trip to Morocco «met with numerous representatives of associations and companies with interests in LNG exports»

He has even held talks, two days before the visit, with representatives from Kinder Morgan, one of the largest energy infrastructure company in North America specialized in owning and controlling oil, pipelines and terminals.

«If these were the individuals who advised you about your trip before you departed, it would suggest the purpose had little to do with EPA’s mission and more to do with interests from your time in Oklahoma», wrote Whitehouse in the same letter.

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