EPA's new boss unlikely to change Trump policies

Pat Wise
July 8, 2018

The D.C. mom who confronted now-former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday and asked him to resign said she was "jumping up and down" at today's news that he had stepped down. He's been investigated for undertaking expensive, first-class global travel with a large detail, and for spending $43,000 to build a soundproof phone booth in his office.

In addition to criticism of Pruitt's policies, the EPA investigated at least 10 threats of violence against Pruitt and his family over a six-month period, The Times reported in March.

On Thursday, Trump said Pruitt's resignation was voluntary and praised him for his service. Murray also suggested slashing the number of EPA staff in half.

Yet, were many of these Republicans not facing a tough Congressional election this year, it's unclear how long the embarrassing scandals would have continued to pile up.

Pruitt said his $50-per-night condo lease from an energy lobbyist's wife received ethics approval from the agency, though the EPA's inspector general's office said its review was based on incomplete information. Under Pruitt, the EPA issued mass waivers for small refineries from their annual requirements to use biofuels. As Oklahoma's former attorney general, he waged a legal fight against environmental rules implemented by the agency he eventually would head.

"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.

Representative Gerry Connolly, Democrat from Virginia: "Scott Pruitt's reign of venality is finally over". Either Trump's opinions are at odds with the way much of the country feels about Pruitt or it's a further sign that Trump is a fan of corrupt, anti-environment policy and leadership. His main client was the largest coal producer in the US.

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Pruitt, who has done much to deregulate numerous Obama-era environmental rules, is also accused of using his sway to secure a six-figure job for his wife. Pruitt moved to roll back environmental regulations affecting many industries. James Inhofe, R-Okla., whom you may recall from the 2015 floor speech in which he rebutted climate change science with a snowball. He also urged the Department of Interior to reduce the size of Bears Ears National Monument to make more land available for uranium mining.

Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency's deputy and soon-to-be acting administrator, poses for a photograph released Thursday. "We're all getting hit in the head by the snowball at this point".

Despite his conservative background and his likely continuance of Trump's EPA agenda, Wheeler has previously criticized the President.

In the end, Pruitt was driven from office for having abused his position at a level outrageous even for this ethically compromised administration, where nepotism, self-dealing and abuse of office seem to be job requirements.

As Wheeler prepares to take charge of EPA, the company he once lobbied for is trying to win contracts to clean up abandoned uranium mines, according to EFI's website and its CEO, Mark Chalmers.

Wheeler has largely stayed out of the limelight and previously told the Washington Examiner he has no interest in taking the EPA administrator role.

President Donald Trump wanted Pruitt to leave, after revelations that the administrator's public schedule had been altered to shield some meetings from public view, they said.

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