US environmental chief resigns under fire

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Washington, July 6 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he accepted the resignation of scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt as director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“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,” Trump said via Twitter.

Trump also took to Twitter to announce that Andrew Wheeler, who was the Deputy Administrator of the EPA under Pruitt, would become the interim head of the agency.

“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!,” the President said.

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Rumors had been circulating for months that Pruitt would resign due to several scandals and irregularities, which are being investigated by Congress and by the Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

Despite these scandals, the president repeatedly backed Pruitt, as he was one of the most loyal members of the Cabinet, although Trump’s patience seems to have run out.

The irregularities Pruitt is accused of include his lavish spending practices, excessive raises to some members of his staff, and having rented a residence from the wife of a top energy lobbyist at a price below market value.

In addition, media outlets reported in June that Pruitt had pressured several employees to help find a lucrative job for his wife.

–IANS

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