Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned on Thursday after months of reports about controversies that raised questions about ethics violations.

Scott Pruitt Resigns As EPA Administrator

In a pair of tweets, President Donald Trump said he accepted Pruitt’s resignation and announced Deputy EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler — a former coal lobbyist — as the agency’s next acting leader until a permanent replacement is found.


Pruitt, 50, was quickly revealed to be one of the most embattled members of Trump’s administration after being confirmed in February 2017. Among the scandals the former Oklahoma attorney general became embroiled in were alleged spending abuses — like purchasing a soundproof booth for thousands of dollars and renting a condo tied to a Washington energy lobbyist — and enlisting members of his staff and security detail to perform favors for him, like seeking out an elegant moisturizing lotion from a hotel or helping his wife to start a Chick-fil-A franchise. Pruitt had been thoroughly questioned by several committees led by lawmakers about his involvement in these and other controversies, like authorizing pay raises for EPA employees. He had been pressured to resign for months by people from both sides of the political spectrum.

Pruitt had already drawn criticism as a pick to lead the EPA even before all of these scandals because of his long history as a staunch opponent of the agency. He had tried to sue the EPA several times and also denied many facts about climate change that a majority of scientists agree on. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the EPA’s Office of Inspector General are among several entities investigating Pruitt for his scandals.


Many conservative politicians and commentators had praised Pruitt for his efforts at deregulation, including rolling back Barack Obama-era environmental rules, but even they recently started excoriating the EPA chief.

“He’s hurting the president because he has, I’m sorry, bad judgment after bad judgment after bad judgment,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham stated in June on her radio show. “If you want to drain the swamp, you’ve got to have people in it who forgo personal benefits, and don’t send your aides around doing personal errands on the taxpayer dime. Otherwise, you make everybody else look bad.”

In his 16 months as EPA chief, Pruitt pushed to roll back the Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule and greenhouse gas emission levels for cars, among other Obama-era initiatives.

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