Trump EPA official resigns after indictment on ethics charges

A top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official is stepping down, less than a week after he was indicted in Alabama on ethics charges.

Onis “Trey” Glenn III, who was the regional administrator for the Southeast region, based in Atlanta, announced his resignation in a Sunday letter to acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“As you know, unfounded charges have been levied against me that I must and will fight,” Glenn wrote in the letter, first reported by AL.com.

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“Stepping down now, I hope removes any distraction from you and all the great people who work at EPA as you carry out the agency’s mission,” Glenn said, adding that he intended “to focus on my family, fight these unfounded accusations and ultimately clear my name.”

Ryan Jackson, chief of staff to Wheeler, told employees in the Region 4 office Monday that the EPA head accepted Glenn’s resignation and thanked him, in an email obtained by The Hill.

Glenn was tapped for the job, a political position, last year by then-EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOn The Money: New financial disclosures provide glimpse of Trump's wealth | Walmart, Macy's say tariffs will mean price hikes | Consumer agency says Education Department blocking student loan oversight Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Lawmakers take EPA head to task for refusing to demand Pruitt repay travel expenses MORE.

The Alabama Ethics Commission announced last week that a grand jury in Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, had indicted Glenn. He is accused of violating state laws against using his office for personal gain and soliciting or receiving a “thing of value” from a principal or lobbyist.

The alleged incidents happened before Glenn worked at the EPA. He and Scott Phillips consulted for law firm Balch & Bingham between 2014 and 2017 to help fight a potential EPA-directed cleanup of two contaminated sites on behalf of Drummond Co., which could have been liable for the cleanups.

Two others involved in the campaign to fight the cleanup were convicted in federal court earlier this year for bribing an Alabama state lawmaker.

Glenn and Phillips were arrested Thursday and booked into jail, but immediately released on bond. Both deny the charges.

Jackson told EPA employees that Mary Walker, the deputy regional administrator in the Atlanta office, will be the acting regional chief. Walker previously led the water division in that office and was assistant director at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“Mary has the Acting Administrator’s full confidence and I know that all of you in Region 4 will support her as she assumes this important leadership role for EPA,” Jackson said.