The Environmental Protection Agency spent $45,000 to send two staffers and three security agents to Australia in August to conduct advance work for Administrator Scott Pruitt’s planned meetings with Australian officials, but the meetings were later cancelled due to Hurricane Harvey, Reuters reported Thursday.
The news of the EPA’s spending on the advance work comes as Pruitt is under fire for taking first class domestic flights, building an expensive sound booth in his office, and renting a room in a lobbyist’s condo.
The EPA staffers’ business class flights to Australia were permitted as aides can fly business class for long flights. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told Reuters that the flights were “not news” and that the staffers were “adhering to the federal government’s travel policy.” Wilcox told Reuters that they have not yet rescheduled the meetings because they must take place while the Australian parliament is in session.
Read Reuters’ full report on the trip here.