Scott Pruitt has accused federal agencies of “colluding” with environmental groups to engage in ‘sue-and-settle’ tactics designed to stifle oil and gas exploration in Oklahoma and other states.” A successful legal settlement prior to a full court trial is one of the primary goals of a law suit.
Last year Pruitt was asked to review the constitutionality of the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office “CLO v Pointe Vista Development” - settlement agreement.
In this case, over $30 million in public funding was dedicated to the Pointe Vista / Lake Texoma Redevelopment in 2007. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin was a primary project sponsor since the Frank Keating administration in the nineties.
In 2008, 758 acres of federally protected Lake Texoma State Park were sold to Pointe Vista in exchange for a four star hotel and convention center and new housing. OKC law firm McAfee & Taft wrote the state contracts.
In 2014, when Pointe Vista failed to deliver on their contracts, the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO) sued them. The CLO spent over $250 K on this lawsuit. That is in addition to the unaccounted for $30 million public investment in the project.
In 2016, after two years of delays, they reached a settlement. This clear collusion between Pointe Vista and the CLO resulted in the loss of over 700 acres of federally protected Lake Texoma State Park land. Pointe Vista was released from their development obligations, and allowed by the state to keep over 700 acres of the former state park land.
When it comes to protecting large corporate interests from “Sue and Settle” environmental lawsuits, Scott Pruitt is your man. When it comes to investigating Governor Mary Fallin and defending the public interest in federally protected Lake Texoma State Park, he’s nowhere to be seen. Pruitt refused several requests to review the legality of the Pointe Vista Development settlement agreement.
Pruit has now lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings and should be removed from office. One Party Republican Rule will likely defend his Right to Deny Science as long as possible. He’s one of theirs.