Who is EPA’s Andrew Wheeler?

Who is EPA’s Andrew Wheeler?

US President Donald Trump on Thursday (Jul 5) announced the departure of his environment chief, Scott Pruitt, who faced ever-growing ethics scandals over his spending and conduct in office.

Tweeted Trump: "I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency".

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appeared, May 16, before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on budget on Capitol Hill in Washington. "Pruitt created a culture of corruption at EPA that has never been seen before in a federal agency, and for months President Trump idly stood by and allowed him to do further harm". Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's deputy, will take over as acting administrator Monday, Trump said in the tweets.

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

Meanwhile, CNN reports that Pruitt keeps a secret calendar he uses to hide meetings with industry executives, attorneys, and climate-change-denying cardinals charged with multiple instances of sexual assault.

At the time, the president was feuding with Sessions over the AG's decision to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation, according to CNN, which cited three people familiar with Pruitt's pitch. 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.

Pruitt was opposed loudly by hundreds of former EPA employees, and more quietly by some current ones. Emails now show Pruitt handed a deregulatory win to oil and gas producers after receiving almost identical proposals from an industry lobbyist and the governor of Utah.

Several of the allegations against Pruitt are now under review by EPA's inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and others.

"We have no illusion both about how far Scott Pruitt is from the kind of administrator that we need and also how risky Andrew Wheeler would be", Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told TIME before Pruitt's resignation. Pruitt is the seventh person to leave a Cabinet-level post in the Trump administration.

"We urge him to immediately commit to undoing the massive damage to EPA's work done under Pruitt's leadership", he said. He rented an apartment linked to oil industry lobbyists in a pricey neighbourhood of the capital for a mere US$50 a night, a sum he only paid on nights he actually slept there.

Pruitt's EPA moved to rescind the Clean Water Rule, which clarified the Clean Water Act to prohibit industries from dumping pollutants into streams and wetlands.

It was also freakish given that the first week of Pruitt's planned trip would have been impacted by the shutdown.

Pruitt refuted the criticisms after first touting efforts made at the EPA during his time in the Trump administration. "History will not look kindly on this era: neither on Mr. Pruitt's entirely irresponsible tenure nor on Congress' abdication of its constitutional responsibilities all in order to protect political allies".

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