Scott Pruitt Sought Chick-Fil-A Franchise for His Wife
Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), tasked a taxpayer-funded agency staffer with securing a "business opportunity" for his wife with an executive of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, the Washington Post reported.
According to emails obtained by the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act, Pruitt's former scheduler, Sydney Hupp, contacted Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy about setting up a meeting on behalf of Pruitt.
"The Administrator would like to talk about a potential business opportunity with Mr. Cathy. Nothing very pressing, just hoping to connect sometime in the next month or so," Hupp wrote in the email. The exchange dates back to May 2017, just months after Pruitt took office.
The meeting never took place, the Post reported. However, the EPA boss eventually spoke with Chick-fil-A representatives. Carrie Kurlander, a Chick-fil-A spokeswoman, told the newspaper that the conversation was about Pruitt's wife Marlyn opening a franchise. She started the franchise application but never completed it, Kurlander said.
An EPA spokesperson declined to comment to the Post.
"Scott Pruitt's abuse of the public trust and his corrupt attempts to leverage his position for personal gain have reached a disgraceful new low," said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in a statement. "This is the clearest example yet of Pruitt unethically and illegally seeking personal benefits because of the job Donald Trump has entrusted him with."
Brune added, "How much longer will Trump allow Pruitt to enrich himself at the taxpayer's expense? This appears to be the only Administration in history that would allow this level of corruption to thrive, as any President with any sense of ethics or the law would fire Pruitt immediately."
It's important to make one thing very clear about yet another Scott Pruitt scandal. The fact that the waffle frie… https://t.co/s2SdcuPh8o— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1528243195.0
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday she had not spoken directly with President Trump about the Post's latest report.
"We continue to have concerns and look into those, and we'll address them," she said.
Pruitt, who is already facing about a dozen ethics investigations, allegedly assigned another political aide Millan Hupp, Sydney Hupp's sister, with the task of obtaining a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
During a hearing with the Senate Appropriations subcommittee last month, Pruitt admitted Millan worked for free searching for a place for him to live in Washington, DC.
The leading Democrat on the subcommittee, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, said the free labor constituted a gift. Federal officials are prohibited by law from receiving gifts of more than $10 from employees.
New Reports Highlight Industry Influence on EPA Head Pruitt https://t.co/8huQL1ItA4 @GreenCollarGuy @Ethical_Corp— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1528284009.0
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday that would ban the sale of new cars in California that run only on gasoline by the year 2035. The bid to reduce emissions and combat the climate crisis would make California the first state to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines, according to POLITICO.
- How Norway Convinced Drivers to Switch to Electric Cars - EcoWatch ›
- Amsterdam Plans to Ban All Non-Electric Vehicles by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- California Won't Buy From Automakers 'on the Wrong Side of History ... ›
- The UK Could Ban Gas and Diesel Car Sales in 12 Years - EcoWatch ›
- Spain Proposes Bill to Ban Gas and Diesel Vehicles - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
- Annual Whale Slaughter Still a Tradition on the Faroe Islands ... ›
- Hundreds of Pilot Whales Die in Devastating Mass Stranding in New ... ›
- Green Group Tests Facebook With Ad Claiming Conservatives Back ... ›
- Illegal Wildlife Trade Thrives on Facebook, Internet Forums ... ›
- Facebook Loophole Allows Climate Deniers to Spread Misinformation ›
- Facebook Hires Koch-Funded Climate Deniers for 'Fact-Checking ... ›
By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
- Sweden to Become One of World's First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation s ... ›
- These Countries Are Leading the Transition to Sustainable Energy ... ›
- Sweden Shuts Down Its Last Coal Plant Two Years Early - EcoWatch ›