Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns--What's Next?

Embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns--What's Next?

Wheeler, whom Trump appointed as the EPA's second-in-command, is a former lobbyist that represented America's largest coal mining company, the erstwhile vice president of the Washington Coal Club, and ex-legislative aide to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who is among Congress's most outspoken climate change deniers.

"I am the deputy administrator", Wheeler said.

"P.S., I transferred a sum of $152.4 million from the EPA to a personal account Cayman Islands on my last day". He said Wheeler is a lobbyist who went "to bat for the very industries he's now being asked to regulate".

But this less flashy style is unlikely to endear him to environmental groups that had been critical of Pruitt.

That Trump finally parted ways with his EPA administrator was less the result of one particular damaging revelation than the culmination of weeks of negative publicity that was becoming a political burden on the president, according to four White House officials, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president's thinking.

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Soon after, Trump announced in a two-part tweet that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation. Chief of staff John Kelly was seemingly obsessed with getting Pruitt ousted, according to EPA and White House officials.

"But let's not forget he was carrying out President Trump's policies".

Scott Pruitt's tenure as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ended with his resignation, but political experts in his home state of Oklahoma say he could continue his career in public office.

Before Wheeler took on the post as Pruitt's second-in-command, he was a principle consultant for FaegreBD Consulting. An Ohio native, Wheeler served as a special assistant in the EPA's Pollution Prevention and Toxics office in the early 1990s before moving over to the Senate environment panel, where he eventually became GOP staff director under Sen.

As attorney general, Pruitt filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the agency President Donald Trump would later pick him to lead. "Andrew worked for me for 14 years, has an impeccable reputation and has the experience to be a strong leader at the EPA", Inhofe said. So, who is Andrew Wheeler?

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From a policy perspective, Pruitt was one of Trump's most effective Cabinet members.

The conclusion: Wheeler has all of the same environmental positions as Pruitt, but he's much smarter at navigating Beltway politics.

"Clear-eyed leadership at EPA could help prevent the carbon bubble we are headed for as fossil fuel reserves end up stranded and potentially trillions of dollars get wiped off energy company books", Whitehouse said in a statement emailed to NPR.

But despite boasts of slashing red tape and promoting job creation, Pruitt had a mixed record of producing real-world results. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".

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