Trump tweets that EPA chief Scott Pruitt has resigned


Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid ethics controversies. It's this notoriety and insider savvy that could make Wheeler risky; unlike Pruitt, who was relatively new to Washington when he took the job leading the EPA, Wheeler could continue to work closely with old friends.

The woman who accosted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at a Washington restaurant on Monday said Tuesday she doesn't regret a thing. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he headed to a rally in Montana, Trump insisted that Pruitt had done "an outstanding job inside of the EPA" and there was "no final straw", adding: "It was very much up to him". Deputy EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will take over Pruitt's job until the Senate confirms a replacement, is a former coal lobbyist who supporters and detractors of Trump's agenda expect to continue Pruitt's agenda effectively. 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.

He had denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries. And he asked aides to help his wife get a job, including seeking a meeting with an executive at Chick-fil-A, and to run personal errands for him, like tracking down a favorite lotion and trying to buy a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. In fact, he penned an op-ed in January 2017 in which he lauded the former Oklahoma Attorney General as the flawless man to undo environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Eyebrows were raised when it emerged that the EPA had installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in Pruitt's office. We had at one point three different schedules.

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Pruitt was known for questioning the human role in global climate change. Pruitt is the seventh person to leave a Cabinet-level post in the Trump administration.

Pruitt went on Fox News that day to defend his conduct, unapologetically calling his arrangement similar to an " Airbnb situation" where lodgers only pay for the nights they stay, and countering the criticism that renting from a energy lobbyist is a potential conflict.

In a statement, Friends of the Earth argued that fossil fuel industry insiders like Wheeler "have no business leading the EPA" and vowed to hold him accountable "for his efforts to harm our public health and environment" during his time as acting EPA chief. He was confirmed as EPA's deputy director in April on a 53-45 vote that cut largely on party lines.

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It was also weird given that the first week of Pruitt's planned trip would have been impacted by the shutdown.

"We urge him to immediately commit to undoing the massive damage to EPA's work done under Pruitt's leadership", he said. "History will not look kindly on this era: neither on Mr. Pruitt's entirely irresponsible tenure nor on Congress' abdication of its constitutional responsibilities all in order to protect political allies".

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