Pruitt's resignation finally ends his corrupt assault on human health, Pallone rails

Scandal-Hit US Environment Chief Could Be Sacked

Scandal-Hit US Environment Chief Could Be Sacked

"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.

Many breathed a sigh of relief when the news broke, but others expressed concern that Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who's now the EPA's No. 2, will take over and continue Pruitt's deregulatory agenda.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", the U.S. leader tweeted.

"We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!" he tweeted. And later: "I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity".

Pruitt and Mink's exchange is just one of many in recent history where Trump administration officials have been confronted by concerned citizens.

Pruitt's resignation came amid a series of controversies over spending, ethics and management, including questions raised over first-class travel, a discounted condo rental, a soundproof phone booth installed in his office, among other things.

Pruitt's EPA has also put restrictions on environmental science and is in the process of weakening federal fuel economy standards.

As the head of the EPA, Pruitt presided over the substantial roll-back of environmental regulations, as well as the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords. He directed his staff to ask for Pruitt's resignation without speaking to him and tweeted about the ouster after he received the letter.

It's unlikely that much will change at the EPA under Wheeler, who holds similar conservative views about environmental regulations as Pruitt. Inhofe hailed Wheeler's ascension to EPA chief.

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

Wheeler also worked as an energy sector lobbyist, perhaps most notably for Murray Energy Company, one of the nation's largest coal mining companies, according to The Washington Post. The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property previous year that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA. A Senate vote would be required if he is nominated to lead the agency permanently.

Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Pruitt made the EPA "a punchline". Documents later showed Pruitt's chief of staff had signed off on the pay hikes, indicating he had the administrator's consent.

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

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.

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

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