EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandal

White House looking into Scott Pruitt using staff for personal use

"Then, of course, you know, I saw who he's appointed as the interim, and that's reality for us", she said of Pruitt's replacement, his deputy at the EPA Andrew Wheeler.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this", Trump said.

Pruitt temporarily will be succeeded by Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist for a coal mining company whose employees were President Donald Trump's biggest source of campaign contributions in 2016.

"We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!" he tweeted. "I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence", Pruitt wrote in his resignation letter.

In his resignation letter, Pruitt cited "the unrelenting attacks" that were taking a toll on him and his family.

Though Trump promised he would drain the swamp when he took over the White House, Pruitt set new swampy records in town, which is saying a lot.

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Pruitt, a Republican, had appeared Wednesday at a White House picnic for Independence Day, wearing a red-checked shirt and loafers with gold trim.

Pruitt's resignation came amid a series of controversies over spending, ethics and management, including questions raised over first-class travel, a discounted condo rental, a soundproof phone booth installed in his office, among other things.

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.

A former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, Pruitt 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. In a statement, independent Senator Bernie Sanders said: "Scott Pruitt was the worst EPA administrator in the history of the agency". He's been investigated for undertaking expensive, first-class global travel with a large detail, and for spending $43,000 to build a soundproof phone booth in his office. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned previous year after it was reported he spent taxpayer funds on charter flights. He had also enlisted his staff to contact conservative groups and companies to find a lucrative job for his unemployed wife, including emails seeking a Chick-fil-A franchise from a senior executive at the fast-food chain. He went on to work as chief of staff to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and James Inhofe (R-OK) - who voted to approve his nomination in February.

Matt Dempsey, the managing director of FTI Consulting who worked with Wheeler on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he fully expects Wheeler will carry out President Trump's agenda. Some of the ethics accusations involved jobs for Pruitt's wife.

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