Scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

Jul 06, 2018, 23:05
Scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

"We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!"

After months spent staggering beneath the weight of roughly a dozen official ethics probes, mounting bipartisan criticism and one used mattress, Scott Pruitt made a decision to lay down his mantle as chief of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.

Wheeler worked under Inhofe for about a dozen years, according to The New York Times, and is among a growing number of former Inhofe staffers now employed by the EPA. Pruitt also was instrumental past year in lobbying Trump to withdraw the United States from the global 2015 Paris climate accord to combat global warming. Wheeler is a career consultant, energy lobbyist and political aid.

Like Pruitt, Wheeler is a conservative who will seek to roll back rules governing clean air and water and fighting against climate change. Among the scandals engulfing his tenure is an accusation that he used his political position to secure his wife a six-figure salary job.

The Adirondack Council, an environmental advocacy group based in Elizabethtown, has been outspoken in its criticism of Pruitt and also celebrated his resignation.

On Tuesday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley called the mounting ethical questions facing Pruitt "troublesome" and said "these things matter to the president as well, and he's looking into those".

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this", added Trump, who gave no reason for Pruitt's departure.

"Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency". Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was sacked a year ago after it was disclosed he took costly charter flights instead of commercial planes.

As recently as June 8, Trump praised Pruitt, telling reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that the EPA administrator was "doing a great job within the walls of the EPA", and that "we're setting records". The Rhode Island Democrat, who serves on the EPW committee and has gotten high marks from conservation activists, expressed optimism that Wheeler would prove to be "the honest broker we knew" from his previous work on the committee. He is a former chief of staff to Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the Republican who has become known as one of Capitol Hill's most prominent climate change deniers. "His extensive experience has benefited our clients and we wish him well as he returns to government", said Dave Zook, FaegreBD Consulting chair and leader of the firm's Washington, D.C. office, in a statement after Wheeler left for the EPA in April.

After much prodding by numerous advisers, Trump eventually decided Pruitt's troubles would only grow and that Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler -whom he deemed an "early Trump supporter and a very environmental person" could do just as well, administration officials said. All tolerated because Trump liked his zealotry.

From a policy perspective, Pruitt was one of Trump's most effective Cabinet members. He called the then-candidate a "bully" and questioned his character, according to the Washington Post. To say that the EPA chief has been embroiled in scandal is an understatement.