Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

EPA chief Scott Pruitt flees eatery after woman with toddler confronts him

EPA chief Scott Pruitt flees eatery after woman with toddler confronts him

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.

The senator praised Wheeler previous year when he was nominated to the EPA deputy administrator post, saying, "there is no one more qualified than Andrew to help Scott Pruitt restore EPA to its proper size and scope".

The embattled head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has quit his post.

Last month, while praising Mr Pruitt's "fantastic job" at the EPA, the president admitted, "I'm not happy about certain things, I'll be honest".

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President Donald Trump announced Pruitt's resignation on Twitter, noting that EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume the title of acting administrator as of Monday. As Trump tweeted, announcing that he'd accepted the resignation, "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda". 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. Other allegations of Pruitt's excessive spending and his use of EPA aides to find his wife employment - including an attempt to secure a Chick-fil-A franchise in Tulsa, Okla. - soon piled on and frustrated conservatives.

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". He's been investigated for undertaking expensive, first-class global travel with a large detail, and for spending $43,000 to build a soundproof phone booth in his office.

One of the more illustrative points about incoming EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is that he actually had the don't-give-a-f*ck attitude to throw a couple fundraisers for Senators in the lead up to his Senate confirmation. Like Pruitt, Wheeler thinks the current evidence on climate change is inconclusive and has lobbied against regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

He is the subject of at least 13 separate investigations, including those being conducted by the EPA's own internal oversight office and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

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Pruitt is the latest Trump Cabinet official to lose his job over ethics issues.

"We urge him to immediately commit to undoing the massive damage to EPA's work done under Pruitt's leadership", he said.

His job had been in jeopardy since it emerged he had leased a property past year that was co-owned by the wife of a veteran fossil fuels lobbyist, whose firm had sought regulatory rollbacks from the EPA. He also demanded 24-hour-a-day protection from armed officers, resulting in a swollen 20-member security detail that blew through overtime budgets and racked up expenses of more than $3 million.

They asked the EPA's inspector general, Arthur Elkins, to take appropriate steps to hold Pruitt accountable.

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"I knew that Mr. Pruitt and I would seriously disagree when it came to policy".

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