The administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly left a Group of Seven summit on climate in Bologna, Italy, after the opening session of the two-day event, just days after President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general before being tapped by Trump to head the EPA, was present for an opening session on climate Sunday morning, but left the gathering to return to Washington, D.C., for a Cabinet meeting, according to U.S. officials. Environmental issues were scheduled for two days of discussion at the summit and continued Monday.
Prior to Pruitt’s departure, his counterparts from the other six G7 members—Italy, Japan, Britain, France, Canada and Germany—had expressed disappointment about Trump’s decision to take the U.S. out of the Paris accord reached in 2015.
Pruitt, sworn in as EPA administrator in February, had battled the EPA in court over the agency’s environmental regulations before Trump picked him to lead the organization. He joined other state attorneys general in suing the agency over its Clean Power Plan, a policy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. power sector. He has said he will work to make the EPA more cooperative with states and rein in what he has called the agency’s regulatory overreach.
—Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine)