Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Senator to new acting EPA leader: 'Restore confidence' in agency's mission

Evan Vucci  AP Evan Vucci AP
Sandra Phillips | 10 July, 2018, 08:28

"While you and I have not always agreed, and will not always agree, on every environmental policy matter, it is my hope and expectation that you will carefully consider the lessons of the past as you prepare to chart the Agency's future".

Wheeler's previous capacity at the EPA was as deputy administrator, Pruitt's second in command.

Pruitt, whose tenure as head of the organization was plagued by numerous scandals, officially stepped down from his role Thursday, according to a tweet from President Donald Trump.

Pruitt, a member of First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Okla., and former Southern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee, termed his year-and-a-half in the job a "blessing" but said unrelenting attacks on him and his family "have taken a sizable toll on all of us".

The Post story offered one supportive quote - Trump saying, "I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda".

Pruitt was under increasing pressure to resign following several controversies which alleged that he had misused public funds and exploited executive privileges for personal benefits during his time at the EPA.

"Directly following the 2016 election, I voluntarily stopped any advocacy activity with EPA under the anticipation that I might be considered for a position at the Agency", Wheeler added.

In October 2017, he notably led a proposal to repeal the CPP, following an order from Trump earlier in the year to "suspend, revise or rescind four actions related to the Clean Power Plan that would stifle the American energy industry".

Newly named acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is expected to stick to the Trump administration's business-friendly regulatory policy, but without the lavish spending and perceived secretive ways of the Pruitt era.

What to expect in the Supreme Court confirmation battle
And he also led the investigation into the mysterious suicide of Clinton's deputy White House counsel, Vince Foster. The 53-year-old Kavanaugh , who clerked for Kennedy and who now sits on the US court of appeals for the D.C.

Harvey Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty to Additional Sexual Assault Charges
The other, former actress Lucia Evans, says she was allegedly forced to perform a sex act at his office in 2004. Weinstein now faces a total of six charges connected to incidents involving three women.

Apple challenger Xiaomi makes lacklustre Hong Kong stock debut
Xiaomi's IPO began on Monday in Hong Kong to a fairly slow start, with trade slipping more than 2%, sometimes dropping by 5.88%. The company had grown from a small startup to become the world's fourth-largest smartphone vendor at the end of past year .

"Given Pruitt's complete failure to protect our clean air and water, and with 13 open federal investigations into his work, the only question is why this took so long".

Pruitt, as Oklahoma's attorney general before heading up the EPA, had sued the federal agency more than a dozen times on behalf of his oil-drilling state.

Pruitt also publicly denied any knowledge of massive raises awarded to two close aides he had brought with him to EPA from Oklahoma. Pruitt is the seventh person to leave a Cabinet-level post in the Trump administration. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was sacked in March amid questionable travel charges and a growing rebellion in his agency about the privatization of medical care.

Beyer and Lieu, in their letter to the inspector general, said the allegations were supported by an analysis of Pruitt's public calendars.

Pruitt's departure follows those of former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Tom Carper of DE, long a vocal critic of Pruitt's.

Environmentalists, however, are confident they will prevail in court challenges to Pruitt's most controversial moves including those affecting coal, auto emissions and agriculture.

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