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Key Trump ally Scott Pruitt forced to resign

Trump says Scott Pruitt's deputy Andrew Wheeler would take over Monday as acting head of the agency.

Scott Pruitt

The embattled head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has quit his post.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the departure of his environment chief who faced ever-growing scandals over his spending and conduct in office.

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency," Trump tweeted.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," he added.

Trump announced that Pruitt's deputy, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, would take over Monday as acting head of the agency that the president has tasked with dismantling Barack Obama's green legacy.

Pruitt has faced an array of ethical questions about his travel spending, security costs, dealings with industry lobbyists and misuse of government resources.

He has denied wrongdoing in the face of multiple congressional and oversight inquiries.

Investigation

Lawmakers probed Pruitt for renting a room in a high-end townhouse co-owned by the wife of energy industry lobbyist Steven Hart for $50 a night, an arrangement that has drawn fire from ethics experts.

Media reports say the payment is less than one-third the price of similar properties.

Pruitt was also under fire for frequent first-class air travel and for purchasing costly items for his office, including a soundproof telephone booth.

Despite the scandals, Trump has been approving of Pruitt's efforts to reduce regulations that the administration says curb business growth.

Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment.


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