Individuals and organizations intent on forcing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign are also attempting to dig up damaging information on Pruitt’s likely successors.
Environmental groups and left-wing organizations have obtained thousands of documents on Pruitt’s communications, schedules and other matters through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, E&E News reported Tuesday. The FOIA documents fed negative stories that have spun around the EPA head for months.
The groups want to be ready with a cache of information on the next person to take over Pruitt’s position if he or she is ousted or resigns. (RELATED: NY Times Admits It ‘Erroneously’ Reported Info About Scott Pruitt’s Daughter)
“We’re planning for a post-Pruitt world,” American Oversight executive director Austin Evers told E&E News. “We will be putting together a package of kind of our greatest hits for people other than Pruitt in the coming days.”
Most of the information on Pruitt has come out because of FOIAs filed in late 2017 and early 2018. New FOIAs are being written requesting information on likely successors, such EPA deputy administrator Andrew Wheeler.
“FOIAs that are pending now will be paying dividends the minute Wheeler steps in,” Evers added.
Wheeler was confirmed as deputy administrator April 12. Some in the White House began pressuring President Donald Trump to fire Pruitt and let Wheeler step in to push Trump’s deregulatory agenda without the tumult of Pruitt’s negative press.
Environmentalists began targeting Wheeler within days, however, undercutting the reasoning the EPA without Pruitt could be just as successful without alleged scandals.
“While it may be impossible to imagine anyone worse than Pruitt to lead our nation’s environmental policy, plenty of individuals could be just as bad,” the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group, wrote in a blog post on Wheeler April 13.
“Wheeler doesn’t appear to be a paranoid, self-aggrandizing morale destroyer with a highly developed taste for taxpayer-funded first-class travel,” the NRDC wrote, referencing Pruitt’s alleged scandals. “He has more friends than enemies in Washington and seems unlikely to shoot himself in the foot or otherwise self-destruct. In the end, that might actually make Wheeler even more dangerous than Pruitt — not less.”
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