Scott Pruitt steps down as EPA head
Environmental and wilderness organizations welcome the news.
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Amid months of ethics controversies, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned.
“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” President Donald Trump announced on Twitter. “Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”
Pruitt has been in the spotlight of a number of allegations, from having his staffers remove controversial events from his calendar to wasteful spending at the public’s expense, among other scandals, according to multiple news reports.
The former head of the EPA also led a series of rollback’s to Obama-era environmental policies protecting the nation’s air, water, and land, and has proposed slashing the budget of a number of programs. He’s also been known to publicly doubt climate change.
Pruitt was behind a move earlier this year to relax emissions standards for cars and light trucks.
In his resignation letter to Trump—which he signed, “Your Faithful Friend”—Pruitt said, “It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”
Andrew Wheeler, former coal industry lobbyist and EPA deputy, will replace Pruitt in the interim.
“I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda,” Trump said in a second Tweet. “We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!”
A number of organizations working to protect the environment and wild places were in favor of the news.
“It’s about time,” wrote Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a statement. “Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA Administrator in history, and any President that cared about protecting taxpayers, respecting science, tackling the climate crisis, or protecting the environment would have fired him months ago.
Brune continued, “Still, credit is due to the many Americans on both sides of the aisle who have taken action and spoken out to oust one of the most corrupt officials in the history of our nation — and the Trump Administration can be assured that same energy and passion that helped boot Scott Pruitt will be focused on ensuring the next EPA Administrator works for the public, not corporate polluters.”
The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams said in a statement that leaders representing America should be held to the highest standards, following science and being completely transparent.
“From day one, Mr. Pruitt was completely against the EPA’s mission to protect our health and environment, shutting out proven science on climate change and rolling back life saving environmental protections that protect some of our wildest places,” Williams said.
“Today’s resignation is a victory for American families, our land, air and water,” Williams said. “Americans deserve a leader of the EPA who respects our environmental laws guided by science and whose goal is to protect and not disrupt the environment. And the next Administrator, along with other cabinet secretaries, should now be put on notice of that.”