Scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

Scott Pruitt resigns from EPA

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As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt tried to roll back rules affecting many industries, but whether he made lasting changes in the government's regulation of business or failed to leave a legacy could be decided in the courts.

President Trump's embattled chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, resigned Thursday.

Wheeler, for his part, insisted that he is not interested in running the EPA in an interview with the Washington Examiner in June.

Pruitt made no mention of the various ethics complaints in his resignation letter, instead praising Trump for having "blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated". "But you're not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along".

Trump could nominate Wheeler to permanently succeed Pruitt, and the interim leader is considered a likely successor by the Washington Post.

Before taking the job at the EPA, Wheeler worked as an energy lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

However, another prominent senator, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), expressed skepticism that Wheeler would be as bad as Pruitt for the environment.

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"Andrew Wheeler is equally unqualified to serve as the nation's chief environmental steward. He is, without question, a member of the coal industry's Hall of Fame", said Sen.

Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment. His views on climate change, the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, and the ongoing evisceration of other environmental protections are virtually indistinguishable from Pruitt's.

Wheeler may pursue some of the similar goals, biofuels groups say, but they believe he will be more transparent and not "color outside the lines" as they claim Pruitt did. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's former chairman and a political mentor to both Pruitt and Wheeler. So, who is Andrew Wheeler?

"There's definitely that fear" of a shake-up among Pruitt's remaining political appointees, said Kevin Chmielewski, the former deputy chief of staff who fell out of favour with Pruitt after questioning spending.

Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, the EPA is again in the hands of a lobbyist set on dismantling environmental regulations.

Wheeler was confirmed, 53-45, despite opposition from Markey and other Democrats. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, were the only Democrats to support Wheeler. All three face tough re-elections in states Trump won easily last fall.

Lobbying records show Murray paid Wheeler's lobbying firm more than $2.5 million between 2009 and 2017. Pruitt is the seventh person to leave a Cabinet-level post in the Trump administration. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".

"Scott Pruitt had a good job here, very loved and very respected and he wanted to help our country", said Pam Pollard, Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Wheeler will assume the responsibilities as acting EPA administrator on Monday, and will hold this position until a new administrator is officially appointed and voted in by the Senate.

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