Pruitt is out, handing EPA reins to former coal lobbyist

Pruitt is out, handing EPA reins to former coal lobbyist

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt's resignation was "long overdue", some lawmakers said as President Trump announced the Cabinet change on Thursday.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials have accused staff appointed by departing agency head Scott Pruitt of suppressing a report warning that most Americans are exposed to hazardous levels of formaldehyde.

"It is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity", Pruitt wrote in his resignation letter to President Trump, "but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring". Former coal lobbyist and current EPA deputy administrator Andrew Wheeler will take over as the agency's acting director on Monday. "In the meantime, I know Assistant Administrator Andrew Wheeler is well prepared to continue the progress already made under President Trump", the Wyoming senator added.

"It is extremely hard for me to ease serving you in this role first because I count it as a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also because of the transformative work that is occurring", Pruitt wrote.

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In his resignation letter, Pruitt cited "the unrelenting attacks" that were taking a toll on him and his family.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the EPA is poised to propose a comprehensive rollback of regulations that would require large cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, a huge source of planet-warming emissions.

The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown nearly too long to itemise. While Pruitt appeared to be strapped, Wheeler's last job paid a base salary of $741,000, which was augmented by payments from his individual clients. You can bet his successor - Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the coal industry - will be every bit as bad for the environment, but a little more clever about spinning his dirty deeds.

That limber sidestep offers small solace to Deans, who is concerned about what the transition from Pruitt to Wheeler spells for the environment.

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Pruitt quit the EPA after months of ethics-related scandals related to his behavior and spending practices, CBS News reports.

He also ordered the installation of a secure telephone cabin in his Washington office at the cost of US$43,000, which critics found excessive. His actions as EPA administrator not only raised serious ethical concerns, but hurt Iowa farmers by recklessly undercutting of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Pruitt is the latest member of the Trump administration to either resign or be fired. I'm not saying that he's blameless, but we'll see what happens", Trump said then, and didn't answer a reporter who asked if Trump was "tired' of Pruitt.

His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property past year that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA.

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If the rights of religious conservatives like him aren't protected, Pruitt said darkly, "it leads to anarchy, it leads to rebellion", something he said would happen in the coming decades. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".

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