Saturday, 23 February, 2019


Donald Trump's scandal-hit environment chief Scott Pruitt resigns

Ethical questions have been raised about Scott Pruitt's management decisions as administrator of the EPA Ethical questions have been raised about Scott Pruitt's management decisions as administrator of the EPA. Washington Post Jabin Botsford
Kristine Garrett | 06 July, 2018, 03:49

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid ethics controversies.

His deputy Andrew Wheeler will take over as acting head of the agency, Mr Trump said.

"We ask that you protect that public trust, and establish whether Administrator Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act, and if so, determine what he concealed and why", Beyer and Lieu wrote in their letter, dated Thursday, to Arthur Elkins, EPA's inspector general. Deputy EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will take over Pruitt's job until the Senate confirms a replacement, is a former coal lobbyist who supporters and detractors of Trump's agenda expect to continue Pruitt's agenda effectively.

"We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!" he said. The Washington Post reports top Pruitt aides have detailed further questionable spending and management decisions to congressional investigators. 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.

Pruitt pushed for President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, an worldwide agreement to avoid the worst effects of climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He also had a $43,000 phone booth installed in his office.

The one thing of which we can be sure is that Trump was not troubled by the ongoing scandal of Pruitt's ideological devotion to the interests of the fossil-fuel industry at the expense of EPA's core mission. Like Pruitt, Wheeler thinks the current evidence on climate change is inconclusive and has lobbied against regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

The news network reported Tuesday that Pruitt - who faces more than a dozen ethics and spending probes - appealed to Trump to make the change during an Oval Office meeting this spring.

Despite Pruitt's short tenure, he was able to have a big impact on environmental policy, rolling back protections from former President Barack Obama's tenure.

His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property a year ago that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA.

Pruitt also rankled some Republican lawmakers, including in Midwest corn states, with his efforts to overhaul a USA policy requiring biofuels like corn-based ethanol in gasoline.

But as summer unfolded, the amount of pressure on Pruitt began to near its breaking point as former staffers came forward to air their concerns and accusations about the EPA chief.

Yet as the administration ran through a litany of dismissals and resignations - including Tom Bossert, David Shulkin, H R McMaster, Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn, Hope Hicks, Rob Porter, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Dina Powell, Tom Price, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, James Comey and Michael Flynn - Pruitt appeared to be bulletproof.

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