Pruitt grilled over reported use of sirens to beat DC traffic

WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Wednesday that he didn’t recall asking that lights and sirens be used on his motorcade to get through Washington traffic.

“I don’t recall that happening,” Pruitt told Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who pressed the EPA chief on an array of allegations, including that he had used his motorcade’s lights and sirens to make it faster to Le Diplomate, a trendy French restaurant in Washington where Pruitt likes to have dinner.

Pruitt was testifying before a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and mainly tussled with Udall, who announced early on that the EPA administrator was facing 16 separate investigations, providing a list for the Congressional Record.

Udall wanted to know, generally, if Pruitt’s security detail had ever flashed its lights or used its sirens in a non-emergency situation.

“There are policies in place that governs the use of lights,” Pruitt answered. “Those policies were followed to the best of my knowledge.”

Udall pointed to reports, including one in the New York Times, that said Pruitt had encouraged the use of lights and sirens when heading to the airport or to dinner.

Pruitt again answered that the “policies were followed to the best of my knowledge” as he said he didn’t recall ordering that the lights and sirens be used.

The back-and-forth prompted Udall to announce that he was submitting for the record an email written by EPA aide Pasquale Perrotta that had the subject line “Lights and Sirens.”

“Btw – Administrator encourages the use …,” Perrotta wrote to a number of EPA officials, whose names were blacked out.

Perrotta left the EPA at the beginning of the month.

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