An anonymous White House source told E&E News that President Donald Trump will soon fire Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt.
“White House staff believe pretty uniformly that this guy is going to be fired soon,” a White House staffer told E&E News on Tuesday.
Pruitt faces intense media and political scrutiny for reports suggesting that the EPA chief got discounted rental fees for a D.C. condo, forced out EPA critics, and traveled across the nation first class.
The White House staffer added, “It’ll take herculean efforts for Pruitt to walk out not bruised and battered. I would be surprised if [Pruitt] keeps his job for much longer.”
Kevin Minoli, the principal deputy general counsel for the EPA, issued a memo in April confirming that Pruitt’s rental of a condo from a lobbyist did amount to an unethical gift.
Administrator Pruitt will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday; Pruitt will likely face questions about the alleged wrongdoing.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of Senate Republican leadership, told reporters on Tuesday, “Obviously, Scott Pruitt has got some serious questions to answer.”
Thune added, “So we’ll see where that goes. But I think that’s being looked at, not just by the administration but also up here” on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Thune added that the continued reports of unethical activity fosters a “drip, drop out there, and that makes it harder to be effective at his job.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said, “If they are all accurate, I would be very disturbed.”
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox defended Pruitt’s conservative record on Tuesday, saying:
From advocating to leave the Paris Accord, working to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan and WOTUS, declaring a war on lead and cleaning up toxic Superfund sites, Administrator Pruitt is focused on advancing President Trump’s agenda of regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship.
Meanwhile, conservatives have cheered Pruitt’s success in carrying out President Donald Trump’s policy of “energy dominance.”
Pruitt signed a proposed rule on Tuesday that bans the agency from using “secret science” to justify agency rulemaking. Under the rule, the EPA must release scientific data for independent validation.
“The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” said Pruitt on Tuesday. “The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of the rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.”
Breitbart News’s James Delingpole wrote, “This represents a massive victory for both Pruitt and President Trump in their war on the Green Blob. It’s a victory too for the taxpayer and for free markets.”
Steve Milloy, a Trump EPA transition team member, wrote in a statement on Tuesday:
During the Obama administration, the EPA wantonly destroyed 94 percent of the market value of the coal industry, killed thousands of coal mining jobs and wreaked havoc on coal mining families and communities all based on data the EPA and its taxpayer-funded university researchers have been hiding from the public and Congress for more than 20 years.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted in support of Pruitt in April, saying, “Scott Pruitt is likely the bravest and most conservative member of Trump’s cabinet. We need him to help Donald Trump drain the regulatory swamp.”