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Scott Pruitt resigns at EPA; Andrew Wheeler to take over

06 July 2018

Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned, President Trump tweeted Thursday.

His deputy, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, will serve as acting administrator of the agency beginning Monday.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after announcing his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. "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", the president tweeted. "We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright", Trump wrote.

Pruitt's former deputy Andrew Wheeler has been put in temporary charge of the agency.

Pruitt's tenure at the EPA was rocky from the start.

"Pruitt's legal and ethical failures have overshadowed the Trump administration's reckless assault on human health and the environment", Pallone said.

Last month, while praising Pruitt's "fantastic job" at the EPA, the president admitted, "I'm not happy about certain things, I'll be honest".

The EPA administrator's resignation comes days after a teacher confronted him at a Washington D.C. restaurant to express her disapproval of his policies and urged him to resign.

"We deserve to have someone at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who actually does believe in climate change and takes it seriously", Mink told Pruitt. Wheeler was serving as a lobbyist for Murray Energy at the time.

Wheeler was a lobbyist for Murray Energy, among the largest coal companies in the country. "Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration". This differs from Pruitt, who drew attention not only for his aggressive moves to cut back regulations but also for mounting scandals and questions about potential ethics violations.

Wheeler has largely stayed out of the limelight and previously told the Washington Examiner he has no interest in taking the EPA administrator role. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's former chairman and a political mentor to both Pruitt and Wheeler.

"I think the most grievous threat that we have today is this imperialistic judiciary, this judicial monarchy that has it wrong on what the First Amendment's about and has an objective to create religious sterility in the public square, which is wholly inconsistent with the Founding Fathers' view", Pruitt warned.

Scott Pruitt resigns at EPA; Andrew Wheeler to take over