Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Key Trump ally Scott Pruitt forced to resign

Key Trump ally Scott Pruitt forced to resign

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease. Trump writes on Twitter, "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job". The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA.

"With Scott Pruitt in charge, we can finally unravel the mess of the EPA, and begin developing and implementing thoughtful policies that will make measurable improvements to our natural resources and unleash an energy revolution that will bring jobs and higher wages to Americans".

In the resignation letter that Pruitt sent to President Trump, he said "it is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role".

That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. He had denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries.

A different EPA inspector general review involves Pruitt's travel practices, suggesting that it will review Pruitt's use of his round-the-clock security detail, which travels with him even when off-duty on family vacations.

Pruitt may have been the worst EPA chief ever, some believe. "But Mr. Pruitt's brazen abuse of his position for his own personal gain has been absolutely astounding, rivaled only by the silence of far too many in Congress and in the White House who allowed Mr. Pruitt's unethical, and at times, possibly illegal behavior to go unchecked", the DE senator said in a lengthy statement.

Pruitt's time at EPA was focused on undoing much of the prior administration's environmental work. "Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator", said Ken Cook, the head of the Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy group. He rented an apartment linked to oil industry lobbyists in a pricey neighborhood of the capital for a mere US$50 a night, a sum he only paid for on nights he actually slept there.

But the potential appearance that the nation's top environmental regulator was getting a favor from a lobbyist who might have business with the EPA struck many as wrong.

Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Pruitt and other EPA officials said Pruitt used the booth to receive classified information and to talk with White House and other administration officials. Pruitt had become a lightning rod, with California Democratic Gov. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) suggested last month that his fellow Oklahoman should consider leaving his job if he couldn't break away from the scandals, although he later clarified that he wasn't calling on Pruitt to resign.

Mr Trump, whose decision to quit the Paris climate accords was vociferously defended by Mr Pruitt, may be changing his mind now though with November's mid-terms looming and Democrats knocking his pledges to "drain the swamp" of Washington graft.

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