Scott Pruitt Steps Down From EPA

Scott Pruitt Steps Down From EPA

Scott Pruitt Steps Down From EPA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who pleased President Donald Trump by rolling back environmental regulations but came under fire for a variety of ethics accusations, has resigned, Trump said on Thursday.

President Trump's embattled chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, resigned Thursday.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", tweeted the President. "But you're not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along".

A former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, Pruitt had become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency's inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin departed in March after the agency's inspector-general said he improperly accepted a gift of Wimbledon tickets and brought his wife along on a working trip to Europe. In fact, he penned an op-ed in January 2017 in which he lauded the former Oklahoma Attorney General as the flawless man to undo environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Wheeler is now listed as a consulting principal at global law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, and he has lobbied for Whirlpool, Sargento, and a number of other chemical and big oil interests, according to records compiled by ProPublica. "Still a very long way to go to fully drain the swamp", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) tweeted at Trump. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who, in an interview with CNN a year ago in March, accused the EPA of "brainwashing" American children.

Some scientists and other career staffers, who learned of Pruitt's departure through news and social media on Thursday, quietly expressed relief, Elizabeth Southerland, who quit previous year as the science director at the agency's Office of Water, said after hearing Thursday and Friday from many still at the agency. And I think it will - it's in good hands with Andrew Wheeler.

It's possible that Trump will decide to keep Wheeler on as EPA head, but his prospects might be hampered by anti-Trump social media posts that Wheeler made before the 2016 election.

Wheeler will assume the responsibilities as acting EPA administrator on Monday, and will hold this position until a new administrator is officially appointed and voted in by the Senate. "I am still not interested in that". More recently, Wheeler lobbied for the coal company Murray Energy, the largest coal mining company in the nation, whose chief executive Robert E. Murray donated $300,000 to Trump's presidential inauguration.

On the policy front, Pruitt's brief tenure - 17 months - did much to improve the national economy and better address true environmental concerns.

However, another prominent senator, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), expressed skepticism that Wheeler would be as bad as Pruitt for the environment.

From a policy perspective, Pruitt was one of Trump's most effective Cabinet members.

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