Scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

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Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), resigned Thursday "under heavy fire for a series of ethics-related controversies", Reuters reported.

HORSLEY: He put out a pair of tweets saying he has accepted Pruitt's resignation and that he will always be thankful for Pruitt's service at the EPA.

Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's current deputy administrator, will take over as the organisation's acting head on Monday, Mr Trump said.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", the USA leader tweeted.

CNN said the EPA initially refused to comment on its report on Pruitt, who has faced criticism in his role at the EPA and is now the subject of at least 14 federal investigations. He is accused of using public funds for personal travel or office improvements, bypassing the White House to secure huge salary rises for some of his staff members, renting an apartment with ties to a lobbyist from the energy industry and several other improprieties at the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Andy Wheeler is the most competent and qualified person for the job he's been asked to fulfill", the senator said.

Trump's unusual "let bygones be bygones" attitude may be due to Wheeler's seeming commitment to an even more aggressively deregulatory tenure than former Administrator Scott Pruitt, and unlikeliness to follow in Pruitt's scandal-swamped footsteps.

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"Andrew is one of the most well-known, well-respected policy professionals in Washington on energy and environment", Matthew Dempsey, a former colleague of Wheeler's in Inhofe's office, who now works for a lobbying firm representing the oil and gas industry, told the Times. Before that he worked on Capitol Hill and, like Pruitt, he's a target for liberals who see him as a champion of polluters and climate change deniers.

Trump told journalists aboard Air Force One that there was "no final straw" that led to Pruitt's departure, and that the move - which he said had been in the works for "a couple of days" - was "very much up to him". "I am still not interested in that".

Frank Pallone Jr., who had demanded EPA head Scott Pruitt's resignation for months, welcomed the administrator's departure Thursday.

As a lobbyist at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, Wheeler represented Murray Energy, the self-billed "largest coal mining company in America".

But as Republicans and many in industry are celebrating the rise of the Inhofe crowd at EPA, some on the left are furious that disciples of the Senate's most vocal climate change skeptic - famous for throwing a snowball on the Senate floor to try to disprove global warming - are leading the agency tasked with protecting the environment. Edward Markey, D-Mass. By elevating Wheeler to replace Pruitt, he said, "the EPA is only trading one fossil fuel friend for another".

When it comes to substance, Wheeler has eschewed hardline political statements on environmental issues - but the public comments he has made show him in line with Trump administration policies.

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