President Donald Trump says he has accepted the resignation of scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt, the former attorney general for Oklahoma, has faced an array of ethical questions about his travel spending, security costs, dealings with industry lobbyists and misuse of government resources.
He had denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries.
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Despite the scandals, Trump has been approving of Pruitt's efforts to reduce regulations that the administration says curb business growth. Trump writes on Twitter, "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job."
I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
...on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment.
Pruitt had been the subject of a seemingly endless deluge of stories about his behavior and spending practices. It began in last month when it was revealed that Pruitt had rented a room at a favorable rate from a well-connected energy lobbyist. Pruitt's lavish spending on his own security then came under scrutiny, as did his decision to install a $43,00 private phone booth in his office. There were also allegations that Pruitt had created an toxic professional atmosphere at the EPA that penalized his critics.
The government had launched numerous investigations and probes into Pruitt's behavior, although he continued to insist that he had done nothing wrong. At the time of Pruitt's resignation, the EPA inspector general was looking into his protective service detail, his traveling at taxpayer expense, and the allegedly excessive raises he gave to some members of his staff. The EPA inspector general had also agreed to look into his housing arrangements and allegations that he had staff members perform his personal errands, among other issues.
The inspector general was due to issue a report on his protective travel detail later this month. And Pruitt was also facing scrutiny from the General Accountability Office and the House Oversight Committee for various other possible infractions.
Here is the full text of Pruitt's submitted resignation:
Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration. Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes as well as historical regulatory reform, is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.
That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.
My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence. I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.
Your Faithful Friend,
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe released the following statement in response to Pruitt's resignation:
"Scott Pruitt did great work to reduce the nation's regulatory burdens facing our nation while leading the Environmental Protection Agency. He was single-minded at restoring the EPA to its proper statutory authority and ending the burdensome regulations that have stifled economic growth across the country. I was pleased to work with him on critical issues, like pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and prioritizing the cleanup of Superfund sites."