12 July 2018
EPA Administrator Pruitt Resigns
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt tendered his resignation effective 6 July in response to what he described as “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family. One of the most controversial members of the Trump administration, Pruitt was the subject of more than a dozen federal ethical investigations during his tenure at the EPA. The agency will now be headed, at least for the time being, by Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist.
Pruitt was loathed by U.S. environmental and consumer groups more intensely than any other EPA administrator in history. According to a 5 July press release by the California-based consumer watchdog group Center for Environmental Health, Pruitt’s legacy “will be defined by his systematic dismantling of essential health protections, at the expense of science, our environment, and the health of children and families – while enriching himself in the process.” Center for Food Safety Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell observed also on 5 July that Pruitt “never respected the critical role EPA has to play in safeguarding Americans from the very real impacts of climate change and toxins such as pesticides, and this made him unfit to lead the agency," adding that his resignation is “a great relief.”
CEH claims Wheeler’s record “is no less toxic than Pruitt’s,” while the Natural Resources Defense Council believes Wheeler “is equally unqualified to serve as the nation’s chief environmental steward.”