Trump Accepts EPA Chief’s Resignation: Pruitt Did ‘Outstanding Job’ Shaping Deregulation Agenda

Theresa Obrien
July 9, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has denied a report that he asked President Donald Trump to get rid of Attorney General Jeff Sessions so he could take over his job.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday amid a swirl of ethics scandals.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted praise of Wheeler, saying that he has "no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda". "But you're not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along". Investigators on Capitol Hill had summoned current and former EPA aides for interviews, as part of the more than dozen federal inquiries into Pruitt's spending and management of the agency. While Pruitt was sidetracked by scandal - such as claims of fiscal mismanagement - Wheeler is a nose-to-the-grindstone workaholic and will be able to achieve the agency's updated mission with little fanfare. But he has been a coal lobbyist, so when it comes to the climate agenda, he will be very much on the same page as Scott Pruitt and the same page as President Trump.

Jackson, a longtime friend of Wheeler, is expected to remain as EPA's chief of staff after Pruitt's exit. Wheeler is now listed as a consulting principal at worldwide law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, and he has lobbied for Whirlpool, Sargento, and a number of other chemical and big oil interests, according to records compiled by ProPublica. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who, in an interview with CNN past year in March, accused the EPA of "brainwashing" American children. And the person he's named as acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, who's now the No. 2 person at EPA, is someone who is fully on board and engaged with his agenda and supports it I believe right down the line.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, the former head of the Environmental Justice program at the EPA, said those policy changes were so unsafe that he made a decision to quit after working at the agency for 24 years.

"I could have put my hat in the ring for the administrator".

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Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's former chairman and a political mentor to both Pruitt and Wheeler. "I am still not interested in that".

Wheeler, a former Senate staffer and EPA employee who spent the past decade representing coal, mining and other energy companies, will take the helm of the agency on Monday, Trump tweeted.

In a statement to CNN, the EPA initially said it would "not be commenting on anonymous sources who are working to distract Americans from the Trump Administration's accomplishments on regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship".

"The environment doesn't need deregulation, we need more regulations to protect the environment. this should not be a partisan issue", she said.

"But environmental groups chafed at Pruitt's actions, particularly his support of fossil fuel industries, like coal", NBC concluded.

CHANG: So you gave recommendations to the Trump transition personnel team for who should lead the EPA, and Scott Pruitt was on that list.

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