Scott Pruitt resigns as EPA head; successor a coal mining insider

White House looking into Scott Pruitt using staff for personal use

White House looking into Scott Pruitt using staff for personal use

Scott Pruitt has resigned as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency amid mounting scrutiny of his spending and ethics practices.

"Outstanding? Instead of protecting our air and water (Scott Pruitt) gave polluters unprecedented influence and access to the EPA", he said in response to Trump's praise of the outgoing EPA chief.

The president said that the agency's deputy administrator, Andrew Wheeler, will become the acting administrator of the agency.

He continued, "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright", Trump wrote. And later: "I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity".

Wednesday night, Pruitt was on the White House lawn, watching fireworks explode over the Washington sky.

Democrats had been gunning for Pruitt even before the former Oklahoma attorney general was nominated to head the EPA, however, mobilizing protesters on social networks by using the hashtag #PollutingPruitt and accusing him of having ties with the oil and coal industries.

At the time, the president was feuding with Sessions over the AG's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, according to CNN, which cited three people familiar with Pruitt's pitch. Pruitt also was instrumental past year in lobbying Trump to withdraw the United States from the global 2015 Paris climate accord to combat global warming. Arriving in Washington, he worked relentlessly to dismantle Obama-era environmental regulations that aimed to reduce toxic pollution and planet-warming carbon emissions.

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". Inhofe hailed Wheeler's ascension to EPA chief.

Pruitt, 50, and his office, which he led since 2017, had come under fire for extravagant spending habits, including on first-class travel, pay raises to top aides and a $43,000 soundproof booth. His firm was paid $300,000 previous year. 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.

Pruitt, a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, also was known for questioning the human role in global climate change.

The EPA chief faced further criticism this week after CNN reported that he and his aides kept "secret" calendars to prevent controversial meetings and communications from becoming public.

Before he joined Faegre Baker Daniels in 2009, Wheeler spent 14 years as a staffer for Sen.

Pruitt is the latest Trump Cabinet official to lose his job over ethics issues.

Pruitt mechanically praised the President, calling him "brilliant" and a "political revolutionary", in the Post's words.

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