Energy

Fire Pruitt? Trump Just Gave Him More Things To Do

If President Donald Trump plans on firing Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt, his latest memorandum shows no sign of it.

Trump has tasked EPA Chief Scott Pruitt with accelerating the rate of regulation repeal, the president announced when speaking at the Rose Garden on Thursday. Trump wants Pruitt to slash red tape that’s hurting U.S. manufacturers “so that they can expand and continue to hire and to grow.” The new initiative is part of the White House’s effort to boost the economy.

The EPA issued its own statement on the new plan.

“This memorandum helps ensure that EPA carries out its core mission, while reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing,” read Pruitt’s Thursday statement. “International and background sources of air pollution are critical issues facing state, local and tribal agencies implementing national standards. The President’s leadership will guide our Agency’s continued commitment to proper implementation of the Clean Air Act.”

The move is another indication Trump is approving of Pruitt’s EPA leadership, despite recent controversies over his use of taxpayer money and housing accommodations. Numerous Democrats and liberal activists — already unhappy with Pruitt’s rolling back of environmental regulations — have used the negative headlines to call for his firing.

The scandals surrounding the EPA administrator include his use of government funds to book first class flights instead of coach seats — moves he attributed to safety concerns. Pruitt also reportedly rented a room in Washington, D.C., from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night. However, ethics officials determined the rate to be a fair market value.

Despite the negative press, many Republicans have stepped up to defend the embattled EPA leader. On April 6, over 60 conservatives added their signatures to a memo in support of him and praised his deregulation agenda. Pruitt is doing “a great job,” Trump said on Twitter that same day and referred to reports he would be replacing him as fake news.

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