Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt, resigned from his post on Thursday citing “unrelenting attacks to himself and his family.”
“[The attacks] are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us,” wrote Pruitt in his resignation letter.
According to CNN, Pruitt’s decision comes just days after a network investigation found Pruitt and staffers would often “scrub” controversial meetings from his calendar. Two Democratic congressmen have since called for the EPA inspector general to determine whether Pruitt committed a federal crime.
During his tenure at the EPA, Pruitt was bemoaned among environmental groups and activists for rolling back key environmental protections, overseeing the removal of all references to climate change on the EPA website, and advising President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
It’s no wonder, then, that many environmental groups were elated Thursday to learn of Pruitt’s resignation.
“The resignation of Scott Pruitt ends one of the worst eras of the EPA,” Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation, told The Inertia. “Under new leadership, we hope to see the agency recommit to its mission of environmental protection. Americans deserve an EPA that will protect clean water and public health, and take meaningful action to curb climate change.”
Some groups explained how the man may be gone, but the damaging nature of his leadership will live on.
“His actions to decimate our stable climate in the short period of time he was in charge will have lasting impacts for years to come,” wrote Protect Our Winters in an Instagram post. “From repealing the Clean Power Plan, to rolling back clean car standards, having him lead the EPA is what some considered comparable to an arsonist being in charge of a fire department. With that said, we’re happy to report that today is officially Pruitt’s last day at the helm. Peace out, cub scout.”
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed EPA Deputy Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, to serve as acting administrator, and many are already concerned.
A longtime Washington insider, Wheeler knows how to fly under the radar effectively. Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate adviser, told the New York Times, “Many worry Wheeler will be more effective at implementing Trump’s anti-environmental agenda than Pruitt was.”