Donald Trump insists scandal-tainted Scott Pruitt quit of his own accord

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Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is reportedly devastated after he was forced to resign, contradicting President Donald Trump's account that the decision "was very much up to" Pruitt.

Pres. Donald Trump announced Thursday on Twitter Pruitt would be resigning from the post, making Wheeler the newest chief of the almost 50-year-old agency. In his tweet this afternoon, the president said, I have no doubt that Andy Wheeler will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda.

Pruitt was critical of the EPA in his career as Oklahoma Attorney General, suing the agency 13 times to try and stop emissions rules and block regulations that impeded coal-fired power plants and calling for the EPA to be eliminated entirely. He is accused of using public funds for personal travel or office improvements, bypassing the White House to secure huge salary rises for some of his staff members, renting an apartment with ties to a lobbyist from the energy industry and several other improprieties at the Environmental Protection Agency.

As for Wheeler, Mink says she is disappointed, but not surprised. "His extensive experience has benefited our clients and we wish him well as he returns to government", said Dave Zook, FaegreBD Consulting chair and leader of the firm's Washington, D.C. office, in a statement after Wheeler left for the EPA in April. Wheeler is now listed as a consulting principal at global law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, and he has lobbied for Whirlpool, Sargento, and a number of other chemical and big oil interests, according to records compiled by ProPublica. A Senate vote would be required if he is nominated to lead the agency permanently. Pruitt, like the president, was skeptical about the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and that human activity, namely greenhouse gases, is a major contributor.

Unlike Pruitt, Wheeler is an old DC hand, adept at negotiating tricky situations and dense regulations. "I am still not interested in that".

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Noting that Pruitt's resignation "should be welcome news to anybody who values clean air and water", Earthjustice president Trip Van Noppen concluded in a statement on Thursday that it "does not close the chapter on the Trump administration's continuous assault on commonsense environmental safeguards". He added that Pruitt will be replaced on Monday by EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

After his work with Inhofe, Wheeler transitioned into a lobbying role with Murray Energy-a company that had a history with Pruitt.

"But in the era of Trump, the environment is just one of many pressing issues - along with Trump's "(throwing of) 32 million people off of health insurance", "racism", "policies of separating tiny children from their mothers" and "trying to destroy long-term alliances that we have with allies all over the world" - for Sanders.

After finally getting Pruitt's political scalp, the opposition party demanded more - ironically adopting Trump's own campaign rhetoric about the Washington establishment.

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