Scott Pruitt, the inflammatory and controversial administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned.
Pruitt’s deputy Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist will take over as acting administrator starting on Monday.
President Trump announced Pruitt’s departure on Twitter and said Pruitt had done an “outstanding job”.
Pruitt in the past year has been embroiled in several scandals
President Trump had repeatedly defended Pruitt following a multitude of ethics scandals that continue to dog the former Oklahoma Attorney General.
In his resignation letter, Pruitt was unapologetic and defensive.
“It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role,” Pruitt wrote. “However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, and my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”
Pruitt also made several references to God while lavishing praise on the President.
In recent weeks, the barrage of scandalous headlines over Pruitt’s alleged impropriety at the EPA escalated to such an extent that several staff members resigned from their posts.
A whistleblower recently revealed that Pruitt kept a secret calendar to hide meetings with industry representatives. Staffers reportedly met in Pruitt’s office to alter or remove records of the meetings.
Staff members also reported that Pruitt asked them to use their personal credit cards for his hotel bookings.
Presently, Pruitt’s activities are the subject of at least 14 separate federal investigations.
Pruitt during his tenure at the EPA was an aggressive champion of Trump’s anti-regulatory agenda, repealing a host of environmental protection measures, many implemented by the Obama administration.
He also managed to delay and hamstring the implementation of the revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Pruitt refused any type of ban on asbestos and several times delayed action on the toxic paint stripper Methylene Chloride.
Pruitt’s tenure has been characterized by an unusual desire for secrecy for what is, essentially, a public health job. He installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office that the Government Accounting Office has determined violates federal spending laws.
Another $9,000 was spent sweeping Pruitt’s office for listening bugs and installing bio-metric locks. Pruitt’s head of security wanted to spend another $70,000 to replace two desks.
Pruitt has repeatedly blamed his staff for his extravagant spending.
While Pruitt’s many scandals will continue to play out in excruciating detail for some time to come, the future of the EPA remains uncertain going forward, and perhaps Andrew Wheeler will take the job more seriously, or he could follow in Pruitt’s footsteps and court industry lobbyists.