- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma attorney general is defending his work with energy companies and denying that he participated in a “secretive alliance” with them.

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported that Attorney General Scott Pruitt was among other attorneys general working with energy producers in pushing back against federal attempts to regulate the oil and gas industry. The Times reported that those attorneys general have received at least $16 million in political contributions this year.

The newspaper cited a letter Pruitt sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, which claimed federal regulators overestimated the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in Oklahoma.

Emails show the letter was actually written by attorneys for Devon Energy Corp., an Oklahoma City-based energy company. It was signed by Pruitt with few word changes.

Pruitt said in a statement it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is working with Oklahoma energy companies to fight what he says is an unlawful overreach of federal agencies. He also said his office often signs on to court briefs and letters originated by other states when it agrees with their positions.

Former Attorney General Drew Edmondson told the Tulsa World on Monday that he’s not passing judgment on Pruitt or other attorneys general, but noted that any document they sign “carries more weight.”

“There are businesses in Oklahoma that are important to the state, but your client is the people of the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “It may be good for the business, but the most important question is: Is this the best course for the people of the state?”

Devon’s media relations manager, John Porretto, said its involvement with Pruitt was consistent with its “commitment to engage in conversations with policymakers on a broad range of matters that promote jobs, economic growth and a robust domestic energy sector.”

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