EPA chief to face fresh questions about spending in senate hearing

Pruitt requested 24/7 security on day one at EPA, internal watchdog says

In a memo obtained by The Washington Post last week, the head of Pruitt's security detail requested business or first-class seating for the administrator, because of passengers "lashing out" at Pruitt when he was seated in coach. Pruitt, under pressure from Congress for his high travel and security spending in his position at America's top environmental regulator, has said his 24-hour security was installed due to unusual threats against him.

Pruitt repeated the claim that the extraordinary spending on his personal security was needed because the threats against him have been "unprecedented in terms of quantity and type". The latest was announced Tuesday, when Democratic lawmakers released a letter from the inspector general initiating a investigation into Pruitt's use of multiple email accounts, and the agency's compliance with requests for records under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The EPA has spent about $3 million on Pruitt's 20-member full-time security detail.

Prior EPA administrators have not had blanket protection.

Trump told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting last week that he had made a decision to do so by expanding sales of high-ethanol gasoline called E15, counting ethanol exports toward annual volumes quotas, and cutting back the use of waivers, according to a source briefed on the meeting.

The controversies have triggered 12 investigations by the EPA's inspector general, congressional committees and the White House.

Perrotta, who wrote the email about the use of lights and sirens, also drafted a memo a year ago saying Pruitt needed to fly in premium class seats because of security threats.

Several Democratic lawmakers have called on Pruitt to step down in recent weeks, but President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind the agency chief, saying he is doing a "fantastic" job rolling back hurdles to industry. That includes flying first class on commercial airliners.

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