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EDITORIAL: Scott Pruitt's resignation overdue, but regrettably, his policies will live on
It’s a classic good news-bad news scenario.
First, here’s the good news: Scott Pruitt has finally resigned as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator.
The bad news? The harmful environmental policies of the Trump administration, which do precious little to actually protect our environment, almost certainly won’t change.
A national embarrassment: Pruitt’s resignation was long overdue. His scandal-plagued stint at the EPA had become nothing short of a national embarrassment.
At the time of his resignation Thursday, July 5, there were no less than a dozen ethics investigations into his personal behavior in the Cabinet-level office.
That’s a staggering number, especially considering he’d only been in office for 17 months.
When it comes to unethical behavior, Pruitt was obviously a real overachiever.
When it came to protecting our environment, however, he was nothing short of disastrous.
His travel spending, security costs, use (or misuse) of government resources and his dealings with industry lobbyists had all come under scrutiny. His tyrannical leadership style also made those working under him loathe to question him for fear of being fired or demoted.
He executed the Trump agenda: Still, he managed to keep his job for almost a year a half despite withering criticism, some of it from Republicans.
Because President Donald Trump approved of Pruitt's efforts to reduce regulations that the administration believed harmed business growth.
It didn’t seem to matter that Trump came into the presidency promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
Pruitt came to exemplify everything that is wrong with the Washington political swamp — corruption, cronyism and fraud — still he remained in office.
He aggravated liberals: In addition to Pruitt's environmental policies, however, Trump probably kept Pruitt on for another reason — the continued presence of the controversial EPA administrator seemed to enrage Trump’s opponents on the left.
Other than seeing his own glorification, there’s nothing that Trump enjoys more than seeing liberals outraged.
Finally, however, Pruitt’s outlandish personal behavior in office was too much of a distraction for even Trump to accept.
Thursday, Pruitt's tumultuous tenure came to a merciful end. An editorial in the (Scranton) Times-Tribune aptly termed Pruitt's resignation as his "only notable act of public service."
Policies won't change under Wheeler: Andrew Wheeler, a veteran Washington insider and a former coal lobbyist, has been announced as the agency's acting head.
Like Pruitt, Wheeler is a climate-change skeptic, despite the overwhelming scientific evidence. Given his cozy relationship with the coal industry, that should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.
So, the Trump administration agenda of slashing the regulations meant to protect our air, water and soil will almost certainly continue unabated.
Hopefully, however, the reprehensible personal behavior of the EPA administrator will end — or at least diminish.
Unfortunately, during the Trump administration, that’s probably the best we can hope for.