Scandal-plagued EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned Thursday amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.

Former colleagues of Wheeler and legal experts told The New York Times that now-acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will be more effective at rolling back environmental protections than Pruitt.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Handler issues July 4 apology to world: "We're sorry about our president" U.S. pork producers prepare for steep tariffs: "I don't want to be the patriot who dies at the end of the war" ACLU membership grew from 400,000 to 1.84 million after Trump was elected: report MORE, who has defended Pruitt throughout the storm, announced Thursday that he had accepted the EPA chief's resignation. Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he headed to a rally in Montana, Trump insisted that Pruitt had done "an outstanding job inside of the EPA" and there was "no final straw", adding: "It was very much up to him". President Donald Trump says he has accepted Pruitt's resignation and that EPA deputy administrator, Andrew Wheeler, will become acting Administrator once Pruitt leaves on Monday.

He had denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries.

Thus far, however, President Trump has remained publicly supportive of Pruitt. As Oklahoma's former attorney general, he waged a legal fight against environmental rules implemented by the agency he eventually would head. On the one hand, this will mean that we are no longer being represented by an embarrassment, which is a positive, but on the other hand it means that he will perhaps be more able to continue Pruitt's nefarious work without so many distractions.

Wheeler was a lobbyist for Murray Energy, among the largest coal companies in the country. Trump has praised Pruitt for slashing regulations on the energy and manufacturing industries, including his move to repeal Democratic former President Barack Obama's signature program to cut carbon emissions from power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan.

Chmielewski said in an interview last month that he was in Jackson's office when Hupp approached Pruitt's chief of staff to explain that the period for transition reimbursements had expired and that Pruitt had not covered the bill. He rented an apartment linked to oil industry lobbyists in a pricey neighbourhood of the capital for a mere US$50 a night, a sum he only paid on nights he actually slept there.

They asked the EPA's inspector general, Arthur Elkins, to take appropriate steps to hold Pruitt accountable. But the departure sets up a potentially bruising confirmation battle in the Senate with whomever Trump nominates as the next EPA administrator.

Pruitt is the latest Trump administration official to be bothered while dining out.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert resigned in April, a month after Rex Tillerson was sacked as secretary of state.

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

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