With Pruitt’s Departure, More Than A Quarter of Trump’s Cabinet Has Changed

Brendan Smialowski  AFP  Getty Images

Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the Democratic Coalition: "Someone needs to make sure Scott Pruitt doesn't smuggle his $43,000 soundproof phone booth out of the EPA offices". Mr. Wheeler is a longtime Washington insider unlikely to commit ethical mistakes on Mr. Pruitt's scale.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate environment panel, said that during Pruitt's tenure, the EPA "has rolled back punishing regulations that were hurting American workers and stifling our economy". Murray also suggested slashing the number of EPA staff in half. But Pruitt had also been dogged for months by scandals that spawned more than a dozen federal and congressional investigations.

She then began to detail some of her issues with the EPA. Prior to that, he had served as Oklahoma attorney general in 2010.

Woman accuses EPA chief Scott Pruitt's environmental policies of harming children's health and future.

There are many, however, who would argue that the EPA has not made progress under the guidance of Scott Pruitt, and these critics do not believe that the agenda will change much with Wheeler in charge. Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that Pruitt overstepped his authority in trying to stall an Obama-era rule requiring companies to monitor and reduce methane leaks.

Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment.

Joe Edgell, president of National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 280 - which represents EPA employees - suggested it's possible the president won't appoint a new administrator at all and might simply allow Wheeler to continue in an acting capacity.

The new leader of the Environmental Protection Agency is a former coal industry lobbyist who helped lead an industry fight against regulations that protect Americans' health and address climate change.

China 'counterattack' expected after U.S. tariffs take effect
He added that for now, "He's called the bluff of other countries that have basically been abusing. our workers for a long time". The company said it had already moved some production to the U.S. and Mexico and would likely move more.

"Pruitt and Wheeler are creating a loophole for super polluting freight trucks that will fill our children's lungs with toxic diesel pollution, ignoring public comments from moms and leading businesses across the country", Vickie Patton, general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told the New York Times.

Andrew Wheeler, the Environmental Protection Agency's deputy and soon-to-be acting administrator, poses for a photograph released Thursday.

Brandon Hurlbut, former chief of staff at the Department of Energy, said the ethics complaints are one thing that is likely to change with Wheeler.

It's possible that Trump will decide to keep Wheeler on as EPA head, but his prospects might be hampered by anti-Trump social media posts that Wheeler made before the 2016 election.

"Under my ethics agreement with the Agency, I will have no involvement with EFI for two years", he said in the statement offered by the agency.

Finally, it revealed Wheeler had criticized the president back during the campaign, calling him a "bully" questioning his character and saying Trump had "more baggage than all of the other Republican candidates combined".

"I think the most grievous threat that we have today is this imperialistic judiciary, this judicial monarchy that has it wrong on what the First Amendment's about and has an objective to create religious sterility in the public square, which is wholly inconsistent with the Founding Fathers' view", Pruitt warned.

- MINING: The EPA said a year ago that it won't require mining companies to prove they have the financial resources to clean up pollution, an Obama-era rule stemming from a long history of pollution spilling from abandoned mines into streams.

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