Key Trump ally Scott Pruitt forced to resign


President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he accepted Pruitt's resignation and that EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will take over as the new head of the agency. Wheeler is now listed as a consulting principal at global law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, and he has lobbied for Whirlpool, Sargento, and a number of other chemical and big oil interests, according to records compiled by ProPublica.

And while she was hailed for her actions on social media, Mink was left absolutely stunned when she got to know that Pruitt had indeed resigned on Thursday. As Pruitt's controversies grew in April, the Union on Concerned Scientists said it would have serious concerns if Wheeler were made EPA administrator. "Senators must confirm a nominee who will hold the health and safety of American families in higher regard than the profits of big polluters".

But many conservatives say Pruitt's policies were a huge success for the American economy because they helped industries that were hurt by the environmental regulations.

"Scott Pruitt did an outstanding job inside of the EPA", the president said Thursday.

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"I look forward to the confirmation of the next head of the EPA".

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. A Senate vote would be required if he is nominated to lead the agency permanently. Wheeler said Trump "hasn't been that successful" in his business endeavors and had "more baggage then all of the other Republican candidates combined".

As a lobbyist with the firm Faegre Baker Daniel, one of his major clients has been the nation's largest private coal company, Murray Energy, whose CEO Bob Murray has been a generous Republican donor and Trump supporter.

Before taking the job at the EPA, Wheeler worked as an energy lobbyist on Capitol Hill. NPR reports that he sued the agency to stop emissions rules and block regulations on coal plants.

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The grassroots environmental group is active in Waukegan, with one of its main missions being focused on moving the city away from coal-fired energy.

It's not just Wheeler's time in government that concerns environmental advocates. If confirmed, he would be joining other former Inhofe staffers who have filled top positions at the agency.

"If somebody changed, deleted, scrubbed a federal record with the intent of deceiving the public or intent of deceiving anybody, it could very well be a violation of federal law", said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. In 2006, while working for the Senate environment committee, Wheeler suggested that the Earth might actually be going through a "cooling phase".

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". John Barrasso (R-WY) and James Inhofe (R-OK) - who voted to approve his nomination in February.

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The United States, European countries and Canada followed in support, expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats. However, police and public health officials insist the risk to the wider public remains low.

The president cheered his EPA chief's moves to boost fossil fuel production and roll back regulations opposed by corporate interests.