EPA

Scott Pruitt resigns

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is out at EPA.

President Trump tweeted, "I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency."

Trump added, "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. 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!"

Pruitt's departure comes after reports of ethical lapses, including his rental of a Capitol Hill condominium tied to a lobbyist whose firm's clients had business before EPA. Other allegations of Pruitt's excessive spending and his use of EPA aides to find his wife employment — including an attempt to secure a Chick-fil-A franchise in Tulsa, Okla. — soon piled on and frustrated conservatives.

Pruitt also was hampered by spending scandals related to security. He installed a secure phone booth in his office, required a 24/7 personal security detail and often flew first class, which was deemed safer than coach, as he toured the country.

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Several of the allegations against Pruitt are now under review by EPA's inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and others. Pruitt set up a legal defense fund as he grappled with multiple investigations into his time at EPA.

Trump had expressed confidence in Pruitt several times in recent months, although he did say at one point that the EPA chief was not "blameless" for the scandals swirling around him. Other high-profile Trump aides and Cabinet officials had received similar backing from the president, only to be ultimately shown the door.

Pruitt's time at EPA was focused on undoing much of the prior administration's environmental work. He sought repeals of major Obama-era regulations like the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule while arguing EPA needed to go "back to basics" with a focus on cleaning up toxic waste sites under the Superfund program and boosting water infrastructure to combat lead poisoning.

Pruitt was one of the more politically ambitious administrators to run EPA. The former Oklahoma attorney general, who sued the agency more than a dozen times before running it, had been expected to return to electoral politics and run for governor, senator or possibly president.

He was confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 17, 2017, on a 52-46 vote, the most recorded "no" votes of any EPA administrator. His tenure at the agency lasted more than a year.

Reporter Robin Bravender contributed.

Twitter: @KevinBogardusEmail: kbogardus@eenews.net

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