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, chief of strategy for the group Common Cause, said Pruitt’s questionable past was widely known. His group had urged Congress to delay the confirmation when Pruitt withheld documents revealing corporate influence in his decisions as Oklahoma attorney general.
Spaulding shared similar reservations about Andrew Wheeler, a former coal-company lobbyist and now EPA 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, director of the Public Interest Research Group toxics program, thinks the president should take time to really understand the purpose of the EPA.
Like President Trump, Pruitt voiced skepticism about mainstream climate science. Andrew Wheeler also doubts that humans are a primary cause of the rapid increase in climate change.