EPA inspector general to resign

EPA inspector general to resign
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The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top internal watchdog is resigning after eight years in the position.

Arthur Elkins announced Tuesday that his last day will be Oct. 12, after which he’ll take a job outside the federal government. He did not specify the name of his next employer or the type of work he'll be doing.

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Elkins has been in his post since 2010. He took on a higher profile in recent months as his office launched numerous investigations into alleged ethics and spending violations by former Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittIs Big Oil feeling the heat? Overnight Energy: EPA delays board's review of 'secret science' rules | Keystone pipeline spill affecting more land than thought | Dems seek probe into Forest Service grants tied to Alaska logging EPA delays advisers' review of 'secret science' rules MORE, who resigned in July.

“It has been my great honor and privilege to serve the American people in this role for more than eight years,” Elkins said in a statement. “I am grateful for the outstanding team of auditors, investigators and other professionals who comprise the Office of Inspector General, and for the opportunity to have earned the trust of a wide array of stakeholders relying on the integrity of the OIG’s independence.”

Elkins has overseen 252-person office, with its $50 million budget, through several major probes, including the investigation into former EPA adviser John C. Beale, who defrauded the government out of almost $900,000 by pretending to be a CIA agent; the EPA’s involvement in the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis; and the Gold King Mine mine waste spill in Colorado, which was caused by the EPA.

His office also took on probes into Pruitt’s $43,000 soundproof booth, his cut-rate rental of an apartment from the wife of an energy lobbyist and allegations that he improperly had staff members handle personal tasks for him like buying a mattress.

Elkins’s office reported earlier this month that the EPA did not properly justify spending $3.5 million in 11 months on Pruitt’s unprecedented round-the-clock security detail.

Before serving as the EPA’s inspector general, Elkins worked as the agency's associate general counsel, general counsel to the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, counsel to the National Science Foundation’s inspector general and as an assistant prosecutor for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Charles Sheehan, the EPA’s deputy inspector general, will lead the office in Elkins’s absence. President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE can then nominate a new inspector general, subject to Senate confirmation.