Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns


JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS/NewscomEnvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned from his post, President Donald Trump said on Thursday. Jim Inhofe has suggested that his former chief of staff and now EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler would be a good replacement.

Steve Milloy, who served on Trump's transition team at the EPA, told Breitbart News that Pruitt did a great job advancing the president's agenda of rolling back risky and damaging regulations President Barack Obama put in place, and Wheeler is just as committed as his former boss. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!'

Within the last few months, multiple internal and congressional investigations were launched into reports that Pruitt retaliated against employees and whistleblowers who raised concerns about his spending decisions - a particular concern for watchdog groups and lawmakers because such actions could violate federal law.

According to The Washington Post, Pruitt pushed to find his wife a well-paying job with a politically connected group.

Pruitt pushed for President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, an global agreement to avoid the worst effects of climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Pruitt was previously attorney general of Oklahoma, where he was close to the state's oil industry and waged a campaign against the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to slow climate change.

He also ordered the installation of a secure telephone cabin in his Washington office at the cost of US$43,000 (S$58,700 euros) which critics found excessive.

One of the more illustrative points about incoming EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is that he actually had the don't-give-a-f*ck attitude to throw a couple fundraisers for Senators in the lead up to his Senate confirmation.

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Pruitt also rankled some Republican lawmakers, including in Midwest corn states, because of his efforts to overhaul a U.S. policy requiring biofuels like corn-based ethanol in gasoline. It was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from EPA.

While Ingraham has been a staunch and consistent supporter of the Trump administration more broadly, her criticism of Pruitt is nothing new.

The official, describing Team Trump's feeling about Pruitt, wondered whether he would still hold his job as he could crop up in Democratic candidates' ads hitting the president's "swamp", CNN reported Wednesday.

The EPA chief was not the first Trump administration official to face a public backlash at a restaurant.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert resigned in April, a month after Rex Tillerson was sacked as secretary of state.

Both Pruitt and the lobbyist, Steven Hart, denied he had conducted any recent business with EPA. "History will not look kindly on this era: neither on Mr. Pruitt's entirely irresponsible tenure nor on Congress' abdication of its constitutional responsibilities all in order to protect political allies".