A top aide to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will be stepping down this month.
Samantha Dravis — who currently serves as Pruitt’s policy chief, and someone who holds major influence in the EPA — is resigning her post for a job in the private sector, according to E&E News. The announcement of her departure comes as Pruitt is battling bad press over his living arrangements and personal travel. Dravis, however, had planned to leave the agency before negative coverage of her boss began.
Dravis met Pruitt when he was the Republican Attorney General of Oklahoma and she was leading the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a policy group affiliated with the Republican Attorneys General Association. She went on to guide him through his vetting and confirmation process. Dravis was among Pruitt’s first hires in 2017 when he took the helm of the EPA, and is considered one of his closest confidants. She frequently accompanies him in top meetings and helped him lead a major deregulatory push of the agency.
“She is obviously one of Pruitt’s most trusted people in the entire agency,” an EPA career official stated.
Her departure comes at an inopportune time for Pruitt, who is facing calls for his resignation after a slew of reports revealed he was renting a room from the wife of an energy lobbyist for $50 a night. He was criticized for spending more than $100,000 on first class airline travel earlier this year. The EPA blamed the extravagant costs on security concerns.
Additionally, the EPA leader is taking heat for using an obscure provision in the Safe Drinking Water Act to give raises to two staffers.
Numerous critics, including a few Republicans, have called on Pruitt to resign.
For her part, Dravis has not completely avoided controversy during her time in the Trump administration.
The outgoing EPA associate administrator reportedly dated Rob Porter, a former senior White House aide who was booted after allegations of spousal abuse came to light. Dravis made a call to White House Counsel Don McGahn in November to inform him of abuse accusations made by two of Porter’s ex-wives.
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