Democrats seek probe of EPA's Pruitt meeting records


Donald Trump's scandal-hit environment chief Scott Pruitt resigns

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned after a tumultuous 17 months in office.

"He came to me and said I have such great confidence in the administration I don't want to be a distraction", he said. Pruitt's management of the agency has prompted a series of investigations. Pruitt is the seventh person to leave a Cabinet-level post in the Trump administration. Many questioned the ethics of him renting an apartment in Washington, D.C., from the wife of an energy lobbyist and traveling frequently to his home state of Oklahoma on the taxpayers' dime.

Pruitt will be replaced by acting administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Pruitt already faces a dozen investigations by the EPA inspector general, Congress and the White House.

It's not just Wheeler's time in government that concerns environmental advocates.

Trump tweets that Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume the acting administrator position Monday. He spent about nine years working for the company, where-according to his LinkedIn profile-he helped "lead the firm's practice by advising numerous types of clients on comprehensive legislative, regulatory and operational strategies to best prepare for a carbon-constrained future". After giving $300,000 to the President's inauguration fund, the New York Times reported that Murray gave Trump a wish list of environmental regulations he wanted rolled back and the President instructed Pruitt to get to work on the list.

Although Pruitt has always been known for his high-profile appearances dating back to his successful run for Oklahoma attorney general, reports paint Wheeler as a quieter political actor. He was also once an aide for Sen. James Inhofe, one of Washington's most prominent climate change denialists, according to the Post.

The senator was also a supporter of Pruitt, according to the Times, and Wheeler's rise demonstrates the growing influence of a group of former Inhofe staff members across the Trump administration and Washington including Ryan Jackson, who is now the EPA's chief of staff.

Despite his conservative background and his likely continuance of Trump's EPA agenda, Wheeler has previously criticized the President. Trump writes on Twitter, "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job". "There are many Republicans who understand that it is real, that it is an enormous issue".

Latest News