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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns amidst ethics questions

06 July 2018

Scott Pruitt, who has been the focus of multiple ethics investigations during his almost 17-month tenure as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned Thursday. "General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role", Pruitt told Politico in a statement about the report on CNN. Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's deputy, will take over as acting administrator Monday, Trump said in the tweets.

"I'm concerned that the Trump administration's assault on human health and the environment will continue long past Pruitt's departure from EPA", Pallone said.

In the resignation letter that Pruitt sent to President Trump, he said "it is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role". In his resignation letter he said, "The unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us".

The host had already called for Pruitt's firing in mid-June, tweeting, "PRUITT BAD JUDGMENT HURTING @POTUS, GOTTA GO: Pruitt had aide, GOP donors help wife find job: report".

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But despite boasts of slashing red tape and promoting job creation, Pruitt had a mixed record of producing real-world results. He also was a top aide at the Senate Environment Committee before becoming a lobbyist.

Pruitt also worked to cut the agency's budget and bought out hundreds of staff.

As Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt had sued the agency 14 times on behalf of the state challenging a variety of regulations and billing himself as "a leading activist against EPA's activist agenda".

Pruitt's reputation as a dogged deregulator and outspoken booster of the president allowed him to weather a litany of ethics scandals in recent months, including questions about taxpayer-funded first-class travel, a discounted condo rental from a Washington lobbyist and the installation of a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office.

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Despite Pruitt's short tenure, he was able to have a big impact on environmental policy, rolling back protections from former President Barack Obama's tenure.

Beyond concerns over ethics violations, critics long contended that Pruitt was a dubious choice to head the EPA given his controversial views on climate change. His firm was paid $300,000 a year ago.

Mink said that when she first approached Pruitt, he "was all smiles", but as their conversation progressed, that smile quickly faded and the former EPA administrator got increasingly defensive and uncomfortable. "There is no appropriate basis for retaining a cabinet secretary who has behaved like Pruitt".

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns amidst ethics questions