(Edited by Daibik Chakraborty)
As of February 17, 2017, Edward Scott Pruitt became the 14th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) per nomination from President Donald Trump and a Senate vote. In recent times, multiple scandals involving Pruitt along with many questioning his decisions as administrator of the EPA have led him to announce that he would resign on July 5, 2018, effective July 6, 2018. His deputy, Andrew Wheeler, was announced to take the position of administrator.
Pruitt is currently under investigation for multiple charges of misconduct and the misuse of his powers for personal use. The controversies around Pruitt include but are not limited to accepting cheap housing from an energy industry lobbyist, using sirens to clear traffic for personal reasons, having a controversially high travel budget, making questionable purchases regarding security (soundproof phone booth, security locks, bulletproof desks, etc.), the misuse of government staffers for personal use, and hiding/falsifying public records. In his resignation letter, Pruitt gives his reasoning for stepping down from his position, citing attacks on Pruitt himself as well as his family. President Trump has accepted the resignation letter from a statement on Twitter.
Due to differing opinions from the American people and many government officials on Pruitt’s work as the head of the EPA, many of his actions have been seen through varying points of view. Some of these actions include but are not limited to collaborating on multiple occasions with fossil fuel companies and the energy industry on environmental regulations, his actions to rollback on the environmental regulations previously set by the Obama administration, his actions in convincing President Trump into withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords, his close connections with the Trump Administration, and his belief that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are not a primary contributor of global warming. Critics of Pruitt believe that his actions are detrimental to the environment and the goals of the EPA, while others believe that his actions have benefitted the American economy and American workers.
While many have expressed that Pruitt’s resignation is a positive step for the EPA, the new administrator Andrew Wheeler has also come under criticism for his former involvement in lobbying for the coal industry. Some have expressed skepticism as to his relationship with the energy industry as well as his qualifications to head the EPA.