After allegedly overspending on everything from pens to lavish trips and accepting questionable deals from lobbyists, government ethics and watchdog groups say Scott Pruitt’s resignation as Environmental Protection Agency administrator is long overdue. During his one-year tenure, Pruitt was seen by conservatives as one of President Donald Trump’s most effective Cabinet members, working relentlessly to dismantle Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing pollution. Stephen Spaulding with Common Cause says Pruitt’s questionable past was widely known – and his group had urged Congress to delay the confirmation, when Pruitt withheld documents revealing corporate influence in his decisions as Oklahoma attorney general.
Spaulding says he has similar reservations about Andrew Wheeler, a former coal-company lobbyist and now E-P-A deputy administrator, who will take Pruitt’s place as acting administrator on Monday. Pruitt expressed no regrets in a letter submitted to media outlets on Thursday.
Environmental groups predict the Trump administration will continue its pattern of appointing the least likely candidate to head the agency. Kara Cook-Schultz is director of U-S PIRG’s toxics program, and thinks the president should take time to really understand the purpose of the E-P-A.
Like President Trump, Pruitt voiced skepticism about mainstream climate science. Andrew Wheeler also doubts that humans are a primary cause of climate change.