Under fire for ethics scandals, EPA chief Pruitt resigns

Saturday, 07 Jul, 2018

It's this notoriety and insider savvy that could make Wheeler risky; 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.

Pruitt was at the White House with other cabinet members on Wednesday evening, celebrating the Fourth of July and watching fireworks.

President Trump announced EPA chief Scott Pruitt had resigned on July 5.

The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown nearly too long to itemise.

The problems will continue for both men: Pruitt still faces a dozen investigations and must file forms disclosing his income -and his wife's.

"Hi, I just wanted to urge you to resign because of what you're doing to the environment and our country", she says to Pruitt at Washington D.C.'s Teaism restaurant.

As head of the EPA, he presided over substantial rollbacks of environmental regulations, as well as the US' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords.

Even without a blemish, Pruitt had a target on his back from the start because he threatened the liberal religion of environmentalism.

For additional commentary on Pruitt and Wheeler, listen to this recent episode of GTM's newest podcast Political Climate.

He was also drawing scrutiny from the Office of Management and Budget, which, according to officials, had determined that a $43,000 soundproof phone booth installed for Pruitt at the agency was a violation of federal law.

Murray Energy employees contributed $103,580 to Trump's campaign committee during the 2016 presidential race, more than those from any other company, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.

"Clear-eyed leadership at EPA could help prevent the carbon bubble we are headed for as fossil fuel reserves end up stranded and potentially trillions of dollars get wiped off energy company books", Whitehouse said in a statement emailed to NPR.

It was not immediately clear how Pruitt's resignation might affect those ongoing probes. As a private citizen, he could still be subpoenaed to testify before Congress, but Republican-led committees have thus far shown little appetite in forcing him to do so.

Don't expect Pruitt's departure to slow this progress.

His letter also cited "unrelenting attacks" against him and his family as the reason Pruitt chose to resign.

Ethical charges aside, many Republicans in oil- and gas-dependent Oklahoma are focused more on what they consider his accomplishments at the EPA, said Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Pam Pollard. He also says he believes that his "inalienable" right to own a gun comes directly from God.

"Scott Pruitt's resignation was long overdue", said Pallone, D-6th Dist., the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

'We're proud of him for that, ' Pollard said. "I think Oklahomans still love him, support him and trust him". "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".