Policy & Regulations

Pruitt ends Rocky EPA Tenure by Resigning

President Trump announced on Twitter Thursday that Scott Pruitt, his embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has stepped down after a relatively brief tenure marked by controversy, senate hearings and the rollback of some Obama-era policies.

The president tweeted Thursday afternoon that “I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this.”

Pruitt’s EPA Deputy Andrew Wheeler will take over as interim administrator on Monday, Trump said via social media. “We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!” the president tweeted.

Pruitt praised Trump in his resignation letter, going as far as to say the president was in office “because of God’s providence.” He also expressed pride at the “transformative” work going on.

“It is extremely difficult 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,” he wrote. “However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.”  

Pruitt was appointed and confirmed as the EPA administrator after a time as Oklahoma’s attorney general fighting federal environmental regulations that impacted power utilities and oil and gas companies. He was regularly criticized for alleged missteps while at the EPA, including being accused of trying to find business opportunities for family and seeking special accommodations in travel and office.

He had many supporters, too, who felt that the EPA had layered too many regulations on energy companies and utilities.

Many Republican leaders and Trump supporters have come forward in recent months to criticize Pruitt. The biggest opponents, however, were environmental groups who feared rollbacks of Obama-era and other previous protections.

Last month, for example, Pruitt’s EPA shifted oversight of power plant coal ash from the federal government to a state for the first time. The first state coal ash permitting program was granted to his native Oklahoma.

Late last year, he named energy industry insiders to positions on federal science advisory boards.

Pruitt’s rocky 17-month tenure even united some conservatives and liberals in opposition to his environmental actions and alleged ethics violations.