The Latest: EPA's Pruitt queried about use of lights, sirens

The Latest: EPA's Pruitt queried about use of lights, sirens
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, accompanied by Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, center, and a member of his security, left, arrives to testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Pruitt goes before a Senate panel Wednesday as he faces a growing number of federal ethics investigations over his lavish spending on travel and security. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s embattled Environmental Protection Agency head is distancing himself from controversies at his agency by blaming subordinates for ethical missteps.

Scott Pruitt is testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and he’s being pressed by the top Democrat about his unusual security demands.

New Mexico’s Tom Udall is asking Pruitt whether he directed his security detail to use lights and sirens to speed through Washington traffic, even when there wasn’t an emergency.

Pruitt isn’t answering directly. He says there are policies in place and he’s confident his staff has followed them.

The senator has asked again whether Pruitt gave such an order. Pruitt says, “I don’t recall that happening.”

Udall is citing an email written by EPA’s security chief saying Pruitt “encourages the use” of emergency lights.


10:15 a.m.

A top Republican senator worries that the ethical cloud hanging over President Donald Trump’s top environmental official is overshadowing the administration’s pro-business regulatory moves.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is appearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and lawmakers are raising questions about his spending habits, security precautions and large raises to some aides.

Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, who heads the subcommittee, is expressing concern about the continued focus on the ethics allegations

And the subcommittee’s top Democrat, New Mexico’s Tom Udall, is accusing Pruitt of failing to inform lawmakers about a ,000 soundproof booth for making private phone calls from his office.

Udall tells Pruitt he’s treating his position of public trust “as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining.”