Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Scott Pruitt out; Trump announces resignation of EPA chief

Scott Pruitt out; Trump announces resignation of EPA chief

Despite the drumbeat of unfavorable publicity concerning Pruitt's personal conduct, Trump admired the job EPA was doing taking apart environmental regulations. Frank Pallone Jr., who had demanded EPA head Scott Pruitt's resignation for months, welcomed the administrator's departure Thursday.

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

President Donald Trump announced Pruitt's resignation on Twitter, noting that EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume the title of acting administrator as of Monday.

'I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda.

In that last instance, former aides said Pruitt enlisted them to get him tickets to the Rose Bowl college football game, help his daughter get an internship at the White House, help his wife franchise a Chick-fil-A restaurant, help his wife get a high-paying job with a conservative activist group, and book hotel reservations on their personal credit cards without ever paying them back.

What's missing so far in Pruitt's case is any acknowledgement from his Cabinet peers or the president that he's done anything wrong. In fact, he penned an op-ed in January 2017 in which he lauded the former Oklahoma Attorney General as the ideal man to undo environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration.

He also ordered the installation of a secure telephone cabin in his Washington office at the cost of US$43,000 (S$58,700 euros) which critics found excessive.

Pruitt was opposed loudly by hundreds of former EPA employees, and more quietly by some current ones.

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With a past life as an energy industry lobbyist, Wheeler is not an environmentalist, to say the least.

On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the president and White House were looking into "troublesome" reports about Pruitt.

"Elevating former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the EPA is only trading one fossil fuel friend for another", he said.

"Administrator Pruitt always welcomes input from Americans, whether they agree or disagree with the decisions being made at EPA", the spokesperson told USA Today.

Late last week, the EPA's chief ethics official said he is pushing for a series of independent investigations into Pruitt's actions, citing a number of "potential issues" that have surfaced from internal sources and media reports.

However, EPA spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said Pruitt thanked the woman for her comments. He also demanded 24-hour-a-day protection from armed officers, resulting in a swollen 20-member security detail that blew through overtime budgets and racked up expenses of more than $3 million. 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.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert resigned in April, a month after Rex Tillerson was sacked as secretary of state. "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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