Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns--What's Next?

James Marshall
July 9, 2018

After allegedly overspending on everything from pens to lavish trips and accepting questionable deals from lobbyists, government ethics and watchdog groups say Scott Pruitt's resignation as Environmental Protection Agency administrator is long overdue.

Trump also said Andy Wheeler, the the EPA's current deputy head, will assume the role of acting administrator, adding, "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda".

While Pruitt arrived in Washington as part of President Trump's promised wave of outsiders hoping to shake up the Capital, Wheeler has spent years navigating the intricacies of environmental policy. As Pruitt's controversies grew in April, the Union on Concerned Scientists said it would have serious concerns if Wheeler were made EPA administrator. Reports also indicate Pruitt asked EPA staff to run personal errands for him not pertaining to the agency's responsibilities and he has had close ties with industry giants the agency has previously regulated. He is a former energy industry lobbyist.

Wheeler worked under Inhofe for about a dozen years, according to The New York Times, and is among a growing number of former Inhofe staffers now employed by the EPA.

Murray Energy's CEO, Robert Murray, has been a loyal supporter of Trump.

Mr Pruitt's resignation is the latest in a long list of White House departures since Mr Trump took office past year. He spent about nine years working for the company, where-according to his LinkedIn profile-he helped "lead the firm's practice by advising numerous types of clients on comprehensive legislative, regulatory and operational strategies to best prepare for a carbon-constrained future".

Although Pruitt has always been known for his high-profile appearances dating back to his successful run for Oklahoma attorney general, reports paint Wheeler as a quieter political actor.

During his time as a congressional staffer, Wheeler worked as a senior aide to Republican Sen.

"Not every Republican agrees ... that climate change is a hoax", he said.

"With Scott Pruitt in charge, we can finally unravel the mess of the EPA, and begin developing and implementing thoughtful policies that will make measurable improvements to our natural resources and unleash an energy revolution that will bring jobs and higher wages to Americans", Putnam wrote.

Like President Trump, Pruitt voiced skepticism about mainstream climate science.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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