Scott Pruitt resigns from EPA

07 July, 2018, 09:43 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Scott Pruitt resigns from EPA

The attacks Pruitt is responding to include calls to investigate his administration for various ethics violations and unprecedented taxpayer spending for office furniture and other unneeded items.

An ethics cloud hung over Pruitt for months, as lawmakers from both parties, environmental groups and government watchdogs raised questions about his spending, housing arrangements, security team and raises for political appointees.

"It is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role", Pruitt's letter to President Trump reads.

Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's deputy administrator and former coal lobbyist, will assume the position upon Pruitt's departure. For months he had ranked as a personal confidant and influential policy adviser to the president, commiserating with Trump over negative stories and indiscreet aides while praising the commander-in-chief for his intelligence and political acumen.

He has denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries. In summer 2015 representatives of Murray attended a conference of the Republican Attorneys General Association and held a 40-minute meeting with attendees including Pruitt, schedules of the meeting show.

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

As attorney general, Pruitt filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the agency President Donald Trump would later pick him to lead.

Trump told reporters later that Pruitt had approached him and offered to resign.

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Travel records showed the USA government spent $17,000 in taxpayer money on a December trip to Morocco to promote U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, which is not part of the EPA's jurisdiction.

Whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski, a longtime Trump campaign aide who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at the EPA, confirmed numerous allegations against Pruitt earlier this year.

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

On Friday, his final day in office, Pruitt was back at the EPA building in downtown Washington to say goodbye to aides. He had also enlisted his staff to contact conservative groups and companies to find a lucrative job for his unemployed wife, including emails seeking a Chick-fil-A franchise from a senior executive at the fast-food chain.

Agency officials said the White House asked the EPA to do a more comprehensive study of the environmental and economic impacts of his proposal - an unusual move during the Trump administration.

"Pruitt racked up a long list of scandalous actions that were not becoming of a public official", Janeway said. "I think Oklahomans still love him, support him and trust him".

"We see Mr. Wheeler as fitting a very typical pattern of behavior", said Chris Saeger, of the Western Values Project.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate environment panel, said that during Pruitt's tenure, the EPA "has rolled back punishing regulations that were hurting American workers and stifling our economy".

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