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GOP Senate chairman backs Pruitt as ethics probes expand

April 9, 2018

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks with auto industry leaders following a news conference at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, Tuesday, April 3, 2018, on his decision to scrap Obama administration fuel standards. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of the Senate Environment Committee is voicing support for embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, even as other Republicans express concern about Pruitt’s ethics and spending on security and travel.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said Monday that Pruitt has accomplished key priorities as EPA head, mainly in reversing “punishing regulations” imposed under President Barack Obama. Barrasso said he saw the positive impact of Pruitt’s actions late last month as he and Pruitt toured a Wyoming coal mine.

Barrasso acknowledged that “certain questions have been raised about internal operations” at EPA and Pruitt’s actions, but said he will wait for a White House review before reaching judgment.

Three Republican senators criticized Pruitt on Sunday amid expanded ethics investigations of his spending and possible perks he’s received.

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