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New travel costs revealed for EPA head

WASHINGTON (AP)  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent more than $120,000 in public funds last summer for a trip to Italy that included a meeting of G-7 ministers and a private tour of the Vatican.

The known cost of Pruitt's previously reported trip grew this week after the agency disclosed a heavily censored document showing expenses for Pruitt's security detail cost more than $30,500. That's on top of nearly $90,000 spent for food, hotels, commercial airfare and a military jet used by Pruitt and nine EPA staff.

Last June, Pruitt flew to Bologna, Italy, for a meeting of environmental ministers from the world's top seven economies. Pruitt attended only the first few hours of the summit before leaving early to jet back to Washington for a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

The trip came a week after the Trump administration announced its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He also went to Rome for a briefing at the U.S. Embassy, a meeting with business leaders and private tours of the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica.

The latest records were released following a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group.

Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to require a full-time security detail that guards him day and night, the total cost of which has not been disclosed. He has also taken other security precautions, including the addition of a $43,000 soundproof "privacy booth" inside his office to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls and spending $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices.

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