EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns

Kristoffer Tripplaar  Sipa via AP

Kristoffer Tripplaar Sipa via AP

When Scott Pruitt's scandal-plagued tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency finally came to an end Thursday, his many critics in and out of Congress wasted no time rejoicing at another Trump Cabinet member exiting under a cloud.

"Elevating former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to head the EPA is only trading one fossil fuel friend for another", he said.

The EPA chief faced further criticism this week after CNN reported that he and his aides kept "secret" calendars to prevent controversial meetings and communications from becoming public.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this", the president tweeted.

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, Trump said he had accepted the resignation of the beleaguered EPA chief.

Earlier this week, a woman confronted Pruitt at a Washington restaurant and urged him to "resign before your scandals push you out".

The mounting allegations have drawn bipartisan disapproval, with Republicans and Democrats voicing their concerns.

Ding dong, Scott Pruitt has resigned.

And at an April hearing of his committee, Pallone called the administrator "unfit to hold public office and undeserving of the public trust". Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Pruitt defended himself by arguing that news outlets had distorted popular perception of his conduct. "Much of what has been targeted at me or my team has been half-truths or stories that have been so twisted they do not resemble reality".

"Pruitt's departure may cost us some jokes, but it won't change the Trump administration or help save the planet or Americans' health". His staff reportedly searched for private jet options for Pruitt's official travel, and he also stayed at a condo owned by the wife of an energy lobbyist but paid only $50 per night.

But some worry that his promotion may accelerate the Trump administration's determined dismantling of the EPA. The main difference between the two, say conservation groups, is Wheeler will likely be more effective than Pruitt in dismantling EPA safeguards.

As the former Attorney General of Oklahoma, Pruitt worked hard to burnish his anti-gay creds, opposing marriage equality and the rights of transgender students. Pruitt, who gave every appearance of being in the pocket of industry, spent large portions of his time denying the existence of climate change.

On his state website, Pruitt described himself as "a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda".

Trump hit back at Waters with his regular insult that she is an "extraordinarily low IQ person", accusing her of wishing his supporters harm.

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