Mom who confronted Pruitt: "I'm glad he took the hint" and resigned

Terry Joseph
July 7, 2018

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that his embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, had resigned.

"In the meantime, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, will undoubtedly continue Pruitt's legacy of subverting the agency's mission by putting corporate profits ahead of public health and the environment", Doyle said. "Pruitt created a culture of corruption at EPA that has never been seen before in a federal agency, and for months President Trump idly stood by and allowed him to do further harm". "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", Trump wrote.

The departure marked a precipitous fall for Pruitt, who during his roughly 16 months in office took steps to reverse more than a dozen major Obama-era regulations and overhauled key elements of the agency's approach to scientific research. Jeff Holmstead, an EPA assistant administrator under George W. Bush who is now an energy lawyer at the law firm Bracewell, told TIME in an email that Wheeler "may actually be more effective than Pruitt" thanks to his experience in Washington and starting off fresh at the agency. He also was a top aide at the Senate Environment Committee before becoming a lobbyist nine years ago.

Wheeler was only marginally approved as EPA deputy in April. James Inhofe, R-Okla., whom you may recall from the 2015 floor speech in which he rebutted climate change science with a snowball.

President Trump has lost another Cabinet member.

Wheeler shares numerous Pruitt's policy views and was confirmed as deputy in April with only three Democratic votes.

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"It is time for new leadership at the EPA", Stefanik said in a statement. Mink said that when she first approached Pruitt, he "was all smiles", but as their conversation progressed, that smile quickly faded and the former EPA administrator got increasingly defensive and uncomfortable.

Yet for many critics, who have watched with apprehension as Wheeler ascended the EPA ladder, that kind of experience and approach is beside the point.

The list of accusations leveled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown nearly too long to itemize. Many questioned the ethics of him renting an apartment in Washington, D.C., from the wife of an energy lobbyist and traveling frequently to his home state of Oklahoma on the taxpayers' dime.

"Pruitt's legal and ethical failures have overshadowed the Trump administration's reckless assault on human health and the environment", Pallone said. It's this notoriety and insider savvy that could make Wheeler unsafe; unlike Pruitt, who was relatively new to Washington when he took the job leading the EPA, Wheeler could continue to work closely with old friends. Among the scandals engulfing his tenure is an accusation that he used his political position to secure his wife a six-figure salary job.

"It has become increasingly challenging for the EPA to carry out its mission with the administrator under investigation", said Barrasso, who is from Wyoming.

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