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Trump accepts resignation of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
July 05, 2018

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has resigned today.

President Trump tweeted: “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”

“The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will … on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright,” Trump added.

Pruitt came under fire for ethical questions regarding his spending on travel and security, as well as deals with lobbyists, and overall mishandling of government resources, according to the Associated Press.

He faced numerous inquiries by oversight committees and Congress on issues ranging from his aides receiving pay raises denied by the White House, to a rental deal with a lobbyist and first-class travel expenses.

Pruitt maintained his innocence throughout.

Kevin Minoli, the senior ethics official at the EPA, investigated Pruitt’s rental deal and determined it did not violate EPA rules, USA Today had reported. The White House launched its own investigation and also found no wrongdoing.

Still, Pruitt’s rental deal was viewed as unethical, sparking calls for his firing.

Pruitt and his supporters in Congress said the left was out to get rid of him due to his efforts to eliminate rules imposed by the former Obama Administration.

Despite the scandals surrounding Pruitt, his efforts were praised by President Trump on reducing regulations impacting business growth.

In March, President Trump spoke in Ohio, telling a crowd of union laborers that the EPA had been “streamlined.”

“We have really made it possible for people to get things done,” Trump had said.

“So many projects are under construction right now that would never, ever in a million years have gotten built,” he added.

Activists criticized Pruitt, saying his work, and subsequent cuts to staff and pollution rules, caused harm to the environment.

Pruitt had recently announced the EPA’s plan to revert the Obama-era plan to reduce auto emissions in cars and light trucks.

In his resignation letter to President Trump, Pruitt said, “It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in the 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,” Pruitt added.

His letter closed with, “Thank you again Mr. President of the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.”

Andrew Wheeler will take over as acting administrator of the EPA until President Trump nominates a new head for the agency.

Last month, Wheeler told the Washington Examiner that he had no interest in taking Pruitt’s job.