More Pruitt aides leaving EPA

More Pruitt aides leaving EPA
© Greg Nash

Three more aides to former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog says agency failed to properly monitor asbestos at schools| Watchdog won’t investigate former Superfund head’s qualifications| Florence causes toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina White House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Trump’s EPA chooses coal over the American people MORE are leaving the agency following his resignation.

Lincoln Ferguson, a communications aide and speechwriter, and Hayley Ford, the EPA’s deputy White House liaison, announced their departures in the days since Pruitt resigned last week.

Kelsi Daniell, another press staffer, is also leaving, though she tendered her resignation before Pruitt left.

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The news follows the Tuesday announcement by Jahan Wilcox, a top spokesman, that he would leave. Numerous other Pruitt staffers decided to leave during the former administrator's months of spending and ethics scandals, including top spokeswoman Liz Bowman, Superfund program adviser Albert “Kell” Kelly and senior counsel Sarah Greenwalt.

“I thank all those who are moving on to new endeavors for their service to EPA,” Ryan Jackson, chief of staff to acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, said in a statement.

Ferguson, Ford and Wilcox had all been at the EPA since the early days of Pruitt’s tenure.

Ferguson had been Pruitt’s spokesman in his last job as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve at EPA for the past year and a half,” he said in a statement.

“While I am proud of the important work that was accomplished under Administrator Pruitt’s leadership, my wife and I look forward to returning home to welcome our first son in the great state of Oklahoma. I wish Acting Administrator Wheeler and the hardworking EPA staff the very best as they continue to better our nation’s environment.”

The Washington Post first reported the departures Tuesday.

The shakeups in the press staff come as Wheeler undertakes an effort to change how the EPA communicates with the media and the public, in contrast to Pruitt’s opaqueness and abrasiveness with the press.

John Konkus, the head of the press shop who announced his resignation in May but later decided to stay, said earlier this week that Wheeler would bring about a “change of tone” in communications, with a new emphasis on transparency.

Wheeler plans to speak to the EPA’s more than 14,000 staffers Wednesday, an event to which he invited the media.