With a top coal lobbyist stepping in to serve as acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), few people are expecting Scott Pruitt's resignation to slow down the Trump administration's efforts to deal a knock-out blow to the agency's ability to protect the environment.
Like President Trump, Wheeler is active on Twitter, although he has not tweeted since the news of his appointment was announced.
"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency". And later: "I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity".
"However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us", he wrote.
Pruitt faced several federal investigations, including those for misusing taxpayer funds and for renting a room from the wife of a lobbyist with business before the EPA, as he carried out Trump's agenda of rolling back environmental regulations. The president cheered his EPA chief's moves to boost fossil fuel production and roll back regulations opposed by corporate interests.
Whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski, a longtime Trump campaign aide who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at the EPA, confirmed numerous allegations against Pruitt earlier this year.
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During his tenure Pruitt oversaw the largest regulatory rollback in EPA history. He's been investigated for undertaking expensive, first-class worldwide travel with a large detail, and for spending $43,000 to build a soundproof phone booth in his office. The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
According to The Washington Post, Pruitt pushed to find his wife a well-paying job with a politically connected group.
His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property a year ago that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA. He went on to work as chief of staff to Sen.
Beyer and Lieu, in their letter to the inspector general, said the allegations were supported by an analysis of Pruitt's public calendars.
The departure follows years worth of constant scandal and public outrage for Pruitt's constant profligate spending and insider dealing. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA". Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was sacked in March amid questionable travel charges and a growing rebellion in his agency about the privatization of medical care.
Despite the laundry list of ethics complaints putting him on thin ice, Pruitt was invited to and appeared at the White House on Wednesday for Trump's Independence Day celebration, where he and other cabinet members received a shout-out from the president. Tom Carper of DE, long a vocal critic of Pruitt's.