Friday, 19 October, 2018


Under Fire For Ethics Scandals, EPA Chief Pruitt Resigns

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt directly appealed to President Donald Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead Under Fire For Ethics Scandals, EPA Chief Pruitt Resigns
Kristine Garrett | 10 July, 2018, 08:37

"It is very unfortunate for America to lose Mr. Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA")".

There is little indication that interim replacement Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's deputy at the EPA and a former coal-industry lobbyist, will take any different approach to policy matters - Trump said as much in another tweet.

Pruitt, a former Republican attorney general in Oklahoma, resigned suddenly Thursday amid ethics investigations into lavish spending on first-class airline travel and using his office to seek jobs for his wife.

Republicans say Wheeler is well-qualified to lead the EPA, having worked at the agency early in his career. Clean Power Lake County has strongly lobbied for the closure of the Greenwood Avenue coal-fired power plant.

Mr Pruitt also was instrumental past year in lobbying Mr Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the global 2015 Paris climate accord to combat global warming. By elevating Wheeler to replace Mr. Pruitt, he said, "the EPA is only trading one fossil fuel friend for another". The reason Pruitt persisted so long is the same reason why his environmentalist foes shouldn't break out the organic Champagne: The administrator was doing exactly what his boss wanted.

A senior administration official said Pruitt is "inching forward to the tipping point", but ultimately Pruitt's standing at the EPA depends on President Donald Trump.

Trump tweets that Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume the acting administrator position Monday.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", the USA leader tweeted.

"With Scott Pruitt in charge, we can finally unravel the mess of the EPA, and begin developing and implementing thoughtful policies that will make measurable improvements to our natural resources and unleash an energy revolution that will bring jobs and higher wages to Americans", Putnam wrote.

California Democratic Sen. Kamala noted Wheeler's history as "a former coal lobbyist and climate-change denier", adding "The attempt to dismantle the EPA from the inside continues - we must continue to push back against efforts to harm our environment". Inhofe expressed his support for his former staffer on Thursday, calling Wheeler "the flawless choice" to serve as acting EPA administrator.

But where Pruitt came to Washington as an outsider, Wheeler has spent two decades in the nation's capital - making him an experienced insider who knows how to work the system.

He was also instrumental past year in lobbying Trump to withdraw the United States from the global 2015 Paris climate accord to combat global warming.

Steven Mufson captured the nature of most of the stories for the Washington Post.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate environment panel, said that during Pruitt's tenure, the EPA "has rolled back punishing regulations that were hurting American workers and stifling our economy".

Despite the laundry list of ethics complaints putting him on thin ice, Pruitt was invited to and appeared at the White House Wednesday for Trump's Independence Day celebration, where he and other cabinet members received a shout-out from the president.

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