Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Pruitt Out: The Tumultuous Road That Led to EPA Chief's Resignation

AP  File AP File
Cary Marshall | 07 July, 2018, 05:39

From environmentalists to the area's Republican congresswoman, a range of leaders in the Adirondack Park expressed gladness at the resignation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday. But his leadership role didn't stay vacant long.

Trump tweeted Thursday that EPA deputy Andrew Wheeler would "assume duties as the acting administrator of the EPA". Wheeler was its lobbyist from 2009 until a year ago.

Trump tweeted that he has "no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda". Now he will be at a very high-ranking position at the EPA, where he will be in a position to make lots of decisions that could benefit his former clients. Instead he took the opportunity to declare his loyalty to Trump and any of his future pursuits.

Wheeler is a Butler County native and Case Western Reserve University graduate who formerly worked for Ohio GOP Sen.

"We were pleased to defeat him in court recently", Janeway added, referring to recent rulings that ordered the EPA to take action to curb acid rain and smog in the Northeast caused by Midwest factories. Here's a quick review: Wheeler. Lawmakers posed tough questions on a range of issues also including raises for top aides and reports of retaliation against EPA whistleblowers. And Pruitt reinforced some of Trump's strongest-held beliefs: that climate change was a hoax, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not serving him well and that the United States had been ripped off by worldwide trade partners, curent and former officials said.

Served as longtime aide to Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who infamously brought a snowball onto the Senate floor in an effort to illustrate his point that there is no unprecedented climate change.

Andrew Wheeler, seated on the far right, attended a March 2017 meeting between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray about promoting policies to benefit the finances of the coal industry.

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Wheeler worked under Inhofe for about a dozen years, according to The New York Times, and is among a growing number of former Inhofe staffers now employed by the EPA.

"He is not an accidental administrator. The politics will pass but the policy will remain", he said. "I don't want to be a distraction.' And I think Scott felt that he was a distraction".

"I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda", the United States leader tweeted. Over an eight-year period, Wheeler earned more than $3 million lobbying for Murray Energy.

In Pruitt's place, the president is appointing EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who is poised to pick up where Pruitt left off. In Oklahoma, where he sided with poultry companies in Arkansas to subvert environmental protections for a river in his own state and suppressed a report on corruption at a Superfund site, what he wanted was the political support of a wealthy industry. But it has changed Trump's Cabinet.

Senators asked Wheeler about the Murray meeting during his confirmation hearing. "I believe that man has an impact on the climate", he said, "but what's not completely understood is what the impact is". It's this notoriety and insider savvy that could make Wheeler risky; unlike Pruitt, who was relatively new to Washington when he took the job leading the EPA, Wheeler could continue to work closely with old friends.

"We see Mr. Wheeler as fitting a very typical pattern of behavior", said Chris Saeger, of the Western Values Project.

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