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Breaking: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns amidst ethics questions

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt (left), leaves with his wife Marlyn Pruitt during an Independence Day picnic Wednesday for military families on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tendered his resignation on Thursday.

President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation and that he thought Pruitt had done an "outstanding job."

Why did he resign?

Pruitt has been part of the Trump administration since the beginning. He had recently faced questions about his spending habits at the EPA, which included purchasing a $43,000 secure phone booth without congressional approval, and allegedly using agency resources to find a $200,000 job for his wife.

The EPA is currently facing 13 separate federal inquiries into allegations of mismanagement and irresponsible spending practices.

On May 1, two of Pruitt's employees at the EPA resigned during this ongoing ethics investigation. The staffers did not give reasons for their resignations.

Even some prominent conservatives had started calling for Pruitt's resignation, including Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Laura Ingraham, and the editorial board of the National Review. The National Review piece argued that Pruitt was an unnecessary headache for the administration.

“Pruitt is replaceable,” it concluded. “And he should be replaced.”

Trump tweeted that Pruitt would be replaced by his former deputy at the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, who would serve as acting administrator starting on Monday.

Who is the new acting EPA administrator?

Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt's former No. 2 at the EPA, will take over for his former boss on Monday. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist who opposes many environmental regulations.

The New York Times described Wheeler as a "consummate Washington insider," who knows how the system works.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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