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Trump's Scam-Plagued Environment Chief Resigns, Replaced by Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, had become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency's inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself.

AFP

Updated:July 6, 2018, 7:43 AM IST
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Trump's Scam-Plagued Environment Chief Resigns, Replaced by Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler
File photo of Scott Pruitt (Reuters)
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Washington: US President Donald Trump has announced the departure of his environment chief, Scott Pruitt, who faced ever-growing ethics scandals over his spending and conduct in office.

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency," tweeted the president, ending months of speculation about the future of the man he had tasked with dismantling former president Barack Obama's green legacy.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," added Trump, who gave no reason for Pruitt's departure.

Trump said Pruitt's deputy, the former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, would take over Monday as acting head of the agency.

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda," the US leader tweeted.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, had become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency's inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself.

The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown almost too long to itemize.

All the charges share a common thread: he appears to have used the position he has held since February 2017 to enrich his and his own family's lifestyle in violation of federal law, while punishing subordinates who raised objections to his behavior, or who failed to show sufficient loyalty to him.

It all began with a penchant for first-class and private air travel while on official business, a bill footed by the taxpayers, in contravention of usual government practice.

Then came reports of the large number of bodyguards he kept around him 24 hours a day, doubling the cost of his predecessors' security detail.

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| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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