Scott Pruitt resigns at EPA; Andrew Wheeler to take over

Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals

Departing Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt speaks at a news conference in Washington

Scott Pruitt resigns as EPA administrator: After months of scandal, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA.

"As the Trump administration's agent, he has spent the past two years refusing to protect Adirondack water and air from pollution, and delaying enforcement actions on the most basic of public health protections", Executive Director Willie Janeway said in a statement.

Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday from his post as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite Pruitt's blowing public money on everything from over-the-top security details to luxury fountain pens, it took till today for president Trump to announce Pruitt's resignation on Twitter. Pruitt also was instrumental previous year in lobbying Trump to withdraw the United States from the global 2015 Paris climate accord to combat global warming.

For his part, Trump didn't care about Pruitt's scandals as long as he was doing the bidding of industry, which is why it took so long for his tenure to end.

Like Trump, Pruitt voiced skepticism about mainstream climate science and was a fierce critic of the Paris climate agreement.

In 2009, he became a lobbyist for the firm Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting.

In 2017, just months before being nominated as deputy administrator, Wheeler was still lobbing for Murray Energy, a major coal mining company that has paid millions in fines and penalties for contaminating waterways in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania with coal slurry and discharge.

If the rights of religious conservatives like him aren't protected, Pruitt said darkly, "it leads to anarchy, it leads to rebellion", something he said would happen in the coming decades. His own former aides delivered damaging testimony to Capitol Hill investigators in recent days, confirming media reports, and many in his own agency had turned against him.

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". He has more experience working to undermine environmental regulations and deeper ties to industry than his predecessor.

"When you feel like you are being thrown out of the pot and into the frying pan, it's not cause for enthusiasm", Natural Resources Defense Council spokesperson Bob Deans told the NewsHour.

He was also an aide to Sen.

"Andrew is one of the most well-known, well-respected policy professionals in Washington on energy and environment-he knows everybody", Matthew Dempsey, a lobbyist who knows Wheeler from Inhofe's office, told the New York Times (paywall). Inhofe authored a book on the subject, titled "The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future".

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

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