EPA Official Becomes Fourth to Resign Agency in Past Week

WASHINGTON (CN) – The deputy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency announced his resignation Friday, making him the fourth official to leave the agency in a week.

John Konkus, who worked closely with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, including helping him to prepare for his Senate confirmation hearing, is leaving the agency for a communications position at the Small Business Administration.

Ryan Jackson, Pruitt’s chief of staff said he was “grateful” for Konkus’ service at the agency and wished him well in a statement Friday.

“From transition, working side by side with John as one of the “sherpas” for Administrator Pruitt’s nomination, through his work on the beachhead early at the EPA and as deputy associate administrator, John has been a valuable member of the EPA communications team,” Jackson said.

Liz Bowman, who had been the EPA’s chief spokesperson,  resigned Thursday, announcing she will soon become communications director for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. On Tuesday, two other staffers, Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta, the head of Pruitt’s security detail, and Albert Kelly, the head of the EPA’s superfund task force, also quit.

Two other staffers, Samantha Dravis, the EPA’s senior counsel, and Jeff Sands, the the agency’s senior agricultural adviser, have left in the past month.

The departures come at a time when Pruitt faces at least 11 investigations into spending on security, which included millions on a private security detail, to travel domestically and abroad, as well as expenses like first class airfare.

Pruitt has also come under scrutiny for accepting a sweetheart deal on a property in D.C. from the wife of an energy industry lobbyist.

Konkus’ own ties to lobbyists emerged in March after the EPA disclosed an August 2017 letter from Justina Fugh, the agency’s designated ethics official, warning that while he was permitted to “engage in outside activity for compensation,” his consulting income would be capped.

Konkus’ clients were redacted in the disclosure.

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