Mon. Jan 27th, 2020

Scott Pruitt quits as head of US environment agency

Scott Pruitt seemed untouchable, but he also ended up falling. US President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he has accepted the resignation of the head of the US environmental agency (EPA). Trump did not explain the reasons for the resignation, but Pruitt has been haunted for weeks by countless scandals that are being investigated ranging from inappropriate use of public funds to trying to find a job for his wife. Pruitt is the last of the twenty members of the Republican Administration who have resigned or been dismissed in less than a year and a half of convulsed presidency.

Pruitt, 50, was the emblem of the Trump government’s ferocious crusade against the environment. A climate change denier and very close to the oil industry was appointed to head an agency, which he had denounced in the past 14 times as attorney general of Oklahoma. At the head of the EPA, where there has been a purge and exodus of experts, Pruitt led efforts to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement against climate change and squander almost all of the environmental protections raised by the previous Administration of Barack Obama, example the limits on carbon emissions.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the agency, Scott has done a spectacular job and I will always be grateful for it, “Trump wrote in a message on Twitter, in which he announced the resignation. The president advanced that the number two of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will assume from Monday on an interim basis the position of Pruitt. “I have no doubt that Andy will continue with our long and lasting agenda on EPA. We have made great progress and the future of the EPA is very bright! “He added.

In a letter to Trump, Pruitt explains that his resignation will be effective on Friday and justifies it by the “constant and unprecedented attacks” against him and his family. The letter is full of praise for Trump and religious references: “I think you are serving as president by God’s providence. I think that same providence brought me to your service. ” In a few brief statements to the press, Trump said that the resignation was mostly Pruitt’s decision. “He felt he did not want to be a distraction for an Administration in which he has a lot of faith,” he said.

The resignation ends the political career of a man who, according to some circles, dreamed of aspiring to the US presidency in the elections of 2024 and wanted to gain weight in the Government. Pruitt pressured Trump to appoint him attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions, on the tightrope of investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign.

The list of ethical controversies surrounding Pruitt is very long. He spent huge sums of public funds for first-class air travel, a private security team (worth three million dollars), a $ 43,000 telephone booth for his office, special security doors ($ 5,700) or office pens. work (1,500 dollars). He also rented a luxury apartment owned by the wife of a lobbyist in the energy sector. According to press reports, Pruitt also asked his advisors to find a job for his wife in the association of Republican prosecutors and pressed for his wife to get a franchise from a fast food restaurant.

The scandals had supposed the opening of diverse ethical investigations and that they were not only democratic legislators but also some Republicans, those who requested the resignation of the head of the EPA. However, at an appearance in Congress in April, Pruitt was defiant and blamed his team for possible irregularities.

His closeness with energy entrepreneurs was also visualized in some gifts he received and in some of his decisions in the environmental agency. For example, last December it became known that the EPA had repealed or delayed six of the eight laws that had been criticized seven months earlier by the American Petroleum Institute, the reference lobby for the US oil and gas industry.

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