EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns

Gwen Vasquez
July 6, 2018

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who pleased President Donald Trump with his aggressive efforts to roll back environmental regulations, resigned on Thursday under heavy fire for a series of ethics controversies. The good news that Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist and the EPA's deputy director, would be taking over as acting administrator.

Mr Trump confirmed Mr Pruitt's resignation on Twitter, saying he had done "an outstanding job".

Republicans earlier this year countered that Wheeler, 53, was well-qualified to lead the agency, having worked at the EPA early in his career and serving as Republican staff chief of the Senate Environment Committee before becoming a lobbyist nine years ago.
"We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright", Trump wrote.

All told, Pruitt left EPA having faced more than a dozen inquiries or reviews into his practices at the agency, including his first-class plane travel, a room that he rented from a lobbyist at $50 per night and the installation of a soundproof booth in his office. On the one hand, this will mean that we are no longer being represented by an embarrassment, which is a positive, but on the other hand it means that he will perhaps be more able to continue Pruitt's nefarious work without so many distractions. "However the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us".

"There was never a moment of doubt", Kristin Mink told WBAL NewsRadio 1090's Troy Johnson.

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Trump said he had been discussing Pruitt's exit for a "little while".

Despite his conservative background and his likely continuance of Trump's EPA agenda, Wheeler has previously criticized the President. Add Trump Administration as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Trump Administration news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Pruitt also is accused of excessive spending on travel, staying at expensive hotels while traveling - even if they exceeded allowable federal spending limits - and telling staff to book flights on Delta Air Lines so he could accrue frequent flier mileage. Emails obtained by the Sierra Club environmental group showed Mr Pruitt had an aide contact the chief executive of a fast-food chain about his wife becoming a franchise owner. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, for example, called Pruitt "about as swampy as you can get".

On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the president and White House were looking into "troublesome" reports about Pruitt.

Several of the allegations against Pruitt are now under review by EPA's inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and others. No stranger to the EPA, where he worked for almost two decades, Wheeler has also served as an advisor to Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a fierce critic of climate protection policy.

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