Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

EPA chief Pruitt resigns amid ethics scandals

EPA chief Pruitt resigns amid ethics scandals

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"We are assessing and evaluating this latest news", spokeswoman Jennifer Kaplan said in the latest statement from the IG.

Although Pruitt was spotted at the White House's Fourth of July festivities, Trump tweeted that he had "accepted" Pruitt's resignation and was installing former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the agency.

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.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", Trump tweeted Thursday. Wheeler was its lobbyist from 2009 until previous year.

Yet every action related to climate change that Pruitt's EPA initiated appeared premised on the pretense that it doesn't exist. James Inhofe (R-OK), including as chief counsel for the senator on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee.

Pruitt has been embroiled in controversy throughout his short tenure as EPA chief. Before that he worked on Capitol Hill and, like Pruitt, he's a target for liberals who see him as a champion of polluters and climate change deniers. Over an eight-year period, Wheeler earned more than $3 million lobbying for Murray Energy.

EPA deputy Andrew Wheeler would "assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA".

For additional commentary on Pruitt and Wheeler, listen to this recent episode of GTM's newest podcast Political Climate. When Wheeler was a lobbyist behind the scenes, it was easy for him to help industry erode the EPA's science-based mission of protecting public health and the environment.

"Under my ethics agreement with the Agency, I will have no involvement with EFI for two years", he said in the statement offered by the agency.

Until his nomination by Trump last fall, Wheeler worked as a lobbyist with a client list that included Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal mining companies.

The OSC, an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency, rarely comment on the status of investigations, and it didn't respond to requests for comment regarding the status of its Pruitt probe. Wheeler acknowledged he attended but said he couldn't remember any details.

After the Trump administration announced Wheeler's nomination to the agency in April, Inhofe hailed Wheeler as a "close friend". Rob Portman and opposition from Ohio Democratic Sen. Three moderate Democrats - Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Joe Manchin of West Virginia - joined with Republicans to support Wheeler IN April.

Criticism in the press and animosity from environmental groups are likely not enough to derail Pruitt's political career, said Oklahoma GOP consultant Trebor Worthen. Trump says Pruitt is "a terrific guy".

"It has become increasingly challenging for the EPA to carry out its mission with the administrator under investigation", said Barrasso, who is from Wyoming.

"I'll just say this: I wouldn't lose any sleep if EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt would be let go by the president, or resigned", said Young.

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