After the Trump administration announced Wheeler's nomination to the agency in April, Inhofe hailed Wheeler as a "close friend". Don't count on Wheeler demonstrating a sudden commitment to protecting the environment. He's also a former top aide to GOP Sen.
Yet for many critics, who have watched with apprehension as Wheeler ascended the EPA ladder, that kind of experience and approach is beside the point.
Recent reports found that Pruitt had doctored his schedule to hide certain meetings from the public - a potential violation of federal records law.
"President Trump made the right decision".
While Pruitt was a Washington novice, Wheeler is a consummate inside-the-beltway lobbyist who has served many companies that are subject - and sometimes resistant - to EPA regulation. His designated successor, Andrew Wheeler, is at least as firmly tied to the carbon-based energy industry as Pruitt.
The senator was also a supporter of Pruitt, according to the Times, and Wheeler's rise demonstrates the growing influence of a group of former Inhofe staff members across the Trump administration and Washington including Ryan Jackson, who is now the EPA's chief of staff.
In his resignation letter today, Pruitt told Trump that "it is extremely hard for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring".
Mr. Pruitt blamed his departure on "unrelenting attacks on me personally". Just one day earlier, Pruitt had been celebrating Independence Day at the White House. Trump writes on Twitter, "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job".
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Some of the ethics accusations against Pruitt involved jobs for his wife. Among his former clients are Murray Energy, which teamed up with Pruitt to sue the EPA; Energy Fuels Resources Inc., a uranium mining company that recently petitioned the Trump administration to decrease the size of the Bears Ears National Monument; and a liquid natural gas company called Bear Head LNG Corp.
Mink told DCist after Pruitt's resignation was announced, "It's not like I can take all the credit for this". "That was the position he was originally interested in".
He has denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries. But that move came only after Fitzgerald donated tens of thousands of dollars to Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who is a candidate for governor there, and who asked Pruitt to reverse the rule. Those groups quickly applauded his departure. Through attrition, Pruitt and Trump aimed to cut EPA staff in half by 2021. "His corruption was his downfall, but his pro-polluter policies will have our kids breathing dirtier air long after his many scandals are forgotten". Wheeler was serving as a lobbyist for Murray Energy at the time.
Pruitt routinely ordered his EPA staff to do personal chores for him, including picking up his dry cleaning and trying to obtain a used Trump hotel mattress for his apartment.
The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was not immediately clear how Pruitt's resignation might affect those ongoing probes.
The familiar litany of now-former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's abuse of office is long, weird and shameful. He then left to work as an advisor to Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, a notorious climate change denier who published a book calling global warming a "conspiracy" and "the greatest hoax".
'I don't think that whatever things he may be accused of are things that most Oklahomans are going to hold against him if he decides to run for office in the future, ' Worthen said. "We'll give him the opportunity to tell his side of the story".
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA".