Read Scott Pruitt's Odd, Unapologetic Resignation Letter to Trump

White House looking into Scott Pruitt using staff for personal use

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency", Trump announced on Twitter.

Now EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will fill in while the president finds a new leader for the agency.

As recently as June 8, Trump praised Pruitt, telling reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that the EPA administrator was "doing a great job within the walls of the EPA", and that "we're setting records". Wheeler is a former energy industry lobbyist who worked on behalf of Murray Energy, owned by Robert Murray, a Trump supporter who donated $300,000 to the president's inauguration. Murray also suggested slashing the number of EPA staff in half. In Pruitt's case, with more than a dozen active investigations into his conduct still lingering.

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, one of the most relentless and vocal of Pruitt's Democratic critics in Congress, said he expects more of the same with Wheeler as chief.

Mr. Trump appears more concerned about what Fox News will say about his presidency in the next hour than what the history books will say in years to come. "I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence", Pruitt wrote.

Pruitt, who has been widely praised by conservatives for his deregulatory agenda, attributed his departure to "unrelenting attacks" against him and his family.

Pruitt's resignation comes after a flood of absurd scandals roiled his leadership of the agency.

"If the administration was really keen on protecting public health, why wouldn't they send this to the National Academy and give it a really good review?" asked one former EPA official. His views on climate change, the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, and the ongoing evisceration of other environmental protections are virtually indistinguishable from Pruitt's.

Several environmental agencies also cheered Mr. Pruitt's exit.

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During his confirmation hearing to be the EPA's deputy administrator, Wheeler was overshadowed by another Trump nominee, Kathleen Hartnett White - Wheeler's nomination was therefore under less scrutiny.

With a past life as an energy industry lobbyist, Wheeler is not an environmentalist, to say the least.

After leaving Congress, worked for years as a lobbyist for some of the largest coal, chemical and uranium companies in the US - including the uranium mining firm that pushed for the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument, which is near one of its processing facilities.

Wheeler is a Butler County native and Case Western Reserve University graduate who formerly worked for Ohio GOP Sen. Wheeler also represented Underwriters Laboratories, which does testing and certification for the EPA among other organizations; Xcel Energy; and Insurance Auto Auctions, a salvaged vehicle company, according to his financial disclosure form.

Wheeler is not someone who has sought the spotlight.

Just after Trump's inauguration, Murray handed the president an "Action Plan" for "getting America's coal miners back to work", including the rollback of environmental rules and regulations created to curb emissions and tackle climate change.

At the same time, it's hard to imagine that anyone could possibly be worse than Pruitt, so let's take a moment to celebrate this victory, and then prepare ourselves to keep fighting on behalf of the environment.

Wheeler has long questioned the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change.

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