Scott Pruitt Departs EPA After Scandals – And Fulfilling Republican Goals

  • Date: 06/07/18
  • The Washington Times

Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, ending a rocky 15-month tenure after fulfilling a number of top conservative goals while battling myriad scandals over his personal behavior in office.

President Trump announced on Twitter that he had accepted the resignation and praised Mr. Pruitt’s work. He said Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will take over as acting chief on Monday.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One later, Mr. Trump said the decision was Mr. Pruitt’s, though he acknowledged that the EPA chief had become a distraction.

“He’ll go on to great things, and he’s going to have a wonderful life, I hope,” Mr. Trump said. “But he felt that he did not want to be a distraction for an administration that he has a lot of faith in.”

It was a reversal for Mr. Trump, who stuck with Mr. Pruitt as watchdogs launched more than a dozen investigations into his conduct on the job, including his decision to spend $43,000 on a soundproof phone booth for his office and his requests to EPA staff to help his family obtain jobs.

The president said the decision had been in the works for a couple of days.

“It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us,” he wrote in his resignation letter to Mr. Trump.

As EPA chief, the former Oklahoma attorney general displayed a zeal for cutting regulations and a commitment to carrying out Mr. Trump’s mandate for the government to stop erecting environmental roadblocks for businesses.

He worked to reverse dozens of Obama-era regulations, such as reining in the EPA’s expanded reach over American waterways and rolling back the Clean Power Plan that sought to impose greenhouse gas caps through executive action. He also defended major cuts to EPA staffing and overhauled the standards for how the agency used science to back up its decision-making.

The president repeatedly praised him for his work, even as the White House said it was troubled by the constantly emerging reports of scandals.

Democrats were fierce critics throughout Mr. Pruitt’s tenure and were happy to see him go.

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