Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Science | By Celia Watts

Embattled Pruitt Out as EPA Chief

Embattled Pruitt Out as EPA Chief

"It is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity", Pruitt wrote in his resignation letter to President Trump, "but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring".

Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the Democratic Coalition: "Someone needs to make sure Scott Pruitt doesn't smuggle his $43,000 soundproof phone booth out of the EPA offices".

Kristin Mink posted a video of the encounter with the Environmental Protection Agency administrator on her Facebook page Monday, writing that he "was 3 tables away as I ate lunch with my child".

On Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said the president and White House were looking into "troublesome" reports about Pruitt.

Despite the scandals, Trump has been approving of Pruitt's efforts to reduce regulations that the administration claims curb business growth.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced of a former aide telling lawmakers that Pruitt made 20-something staffers book expensive hotel rooms and pay for them. Pruitt confirmed he had his staff reached out to the CEO of fast-food franchise Chik-fil-A to look into a possible location for his wife to take ownership of - the deal never happened.

"Facts are facts, fiction is fiction and a lie doesn't become true just because it appears on the front page of the newspaper", Pruitt said. Others have called for him to be fired in recent months and even some Republicans have said that the scandals are too big a distraction for the president.

Pruitt's departure comes amid growing scrutiny over the EPA's spending under his leadership. One story accused him of renting a Washington, DC townhouse for $50 a night from an energy industry lobbyist. Pruitt, who gave every appearance of being in the pocket of industry, spent large portions of his time denying the existence of climate change. The person in charge of the EPA's FOIA staff, which has slow-walked and obstructed FOIA requests, is a political ally of Pruitt's and the former treasurer of his PAC.

Several environmental agencies also cheered Mr. Pruitt's exit. "Then, of course, you know, I saw who he's appointed as the interim, and that's reality for us", she said of Pruitt's replacement, his deputy at the EPA Andrew Wheeler. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington-no fan of Pruitt-offered a one-word statement: "Good".

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who has known Wheeler for years, told Breitbart News that he is up to the job, especially given his past work at the EPA.

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