Read Scott Pruitt's Odd, Unapologetic Resignation Letter to Trump

Muriel Hammond
July 6, 2018

Now, in Wheeler, Murray not only has one of his former lobbyists inside the EPA, he has them running it.

Pruitt's survival came from being in the line of eyesight - angling to hang around the West Wing while lavishing Trump with praise, telling the president he was "brilliant" and a political revolutionary, according to people who have attended meetings with him.

"Andrew is one of the most well-known, well-respected policy professionals in Washington on energy and environment", Matthew Dempsey, a former colleague of Wheeler's in Inhofe's office, who now works for a lobbying firm representing the oil and gas industry, told the Times.

The problems will continue for both men: Pruitt still faces a dozen investigations and must file forms disclosing his income -and his wife's.

That limber sidestep offers small solace to Deans, who is concerned about what the transition from Pruitt to Wheeler spells for the environment.

Representative Gerry Connolly, Democrat from Virginia: "Scott Pruitt's reign of venality is finally over. General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role", Pruitt told Politico in a statement about the report on CNN. Coming into office as a critic of EPA and a climate skeptic, Pruitt moved aggressively to scale back Obama-era moves on climate change, automobile pollution standards and other industrial pollutants. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was sacked previous year after it was disclosed he took costly charter flights instead of commercial planes.

"The president should have protected him better", said Doug Deason, a Dallas donor and prominent Trump supporter who fund-raises for the pro-Trump America First PAC.

New York's attorney general's office has also battled Pruitt's EPA in court, winning a suit similar to the Adirondack Council's on the same day.

During his time as a congressional staffer, Wheeler worked as a senior aide to Republican Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., whom you may recall from the 2015 floor speech in which he rebutted climate change science with a snowball. Though Mr. Wheeler previously served on the EPA's professional staff, he spent years working for Sen.

As acting EPA head, "Andrew Wheeler is well prepared to continue the progress already made under President Trump", Barrasso added. All tolerated because Trump liked his zealotry.

Until his nomination by Trump last fall, Wheeler worked as a lobbyist with a client list that included Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal mining companies. It included that "no one really knows what his political beliefs are", "he doesn't really understand how government works", "he has more baggage then all other Republican candidates combined" and "he is a bully".

When the Post asked Wheeler in 2017 about his previous comments, Wheeler told the paper his post had been based on watching the primary debates and news coverage. To say that the EPA chief has been embroiled in scandal is an understatement.

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