Scott Pruitt Steps Down From EPA

Scandal-Hit US Environment Chief Could Be Sacked

Scandal-Hit US Environment Chief Could Be Sacked

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. "Senators must confirm a nominee who will hold the health and safety of American families in higher regard than the profits of big polluters". "The head of the agency's changed, but I don't think there's any indication that the acting administrator will do anything any different".

In a series of tweets, the president thanked Pruitt for his "outstanding" service and announced that Andy Wheeler, the EPA's current deputy head and a former coal lobbyist and Senate staffer, will take over as acting administrator.

While Wheeler may find it hard to accumulate the same number of ridiculous scandals as his predecessor, many pointed to the fact that he hosted fundraisers for GOP senators while they were evaluating his nomination for deputy EPA administrator as clear evidence of his contempt for basic ethical standards.

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.

After his work with Inhofe, Wheeler transitioned into a lobbying role with Murray Energy-a company that had a history with Pruitt.

The EPA chief faced further criticism this week after CNN reported that he and his aides kept "secret" calendars to prevent controversial meetings and communications from becoming public.

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Frankly, Pruitt's exit is long overdue. He continued in that role through a year ago and lobbied the Trump Administration on behalf of Murray Energy even while being considered for the deputy administrator role at the EPA.

"Scott Pruitt's resignation was long overdue", said Pallone, D-6th Dist., the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"Scott Pruitt was as reckless toward the planet as he was toward his own position in government", Cuomo said in a statement. An Ohio native, Wheeler served as a special assistant in the EPA's Pollution Prevention and Toxics office in the early 1990s before moving over to the Senate environment panel, where he eventually became GOP staff director under Sen.

With a past life as an energy industry lobbyist, Wheeler is not an environmentalist, to say the least.

For additional commentary on Pruitt and Wheeler, listen to this recent episode of GTM's newest podcast Political Climate. Before that, he worked for the grandfather of climate denial, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who rejects mainstream climate science.

Wheeler is Pruitt's "ideological twin", just with more "political savvy" according to the article. Wheeler also represented Underwriters Laboratories, which does testing and certification for the EPA among other organizations; Xcel Energy; and Insurance Auto Auctions, a salvaged vehicle company, according to his financial disclosure form. With a slim 51-49 majority, Republicans will have trouble confirming Pruitt's successor prior to the midterms elections in November.

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