Scott Pruitt

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Three environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit this week that accuses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of unlawfully approving Oklahoma’s plan to manage waste from coal-fired power plants.

Oklahoma in June became the first state in the nation to get EPA approval to oversee the disposal of coal ash, a byproduct of power plants that contains toxic compounds like lead, mercury and arsenic.

The costs of protecting the Environmental Protection Agency chief more than doubled under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency's inspector general said in an audit report released Tuesday.

By the time Scott Pruitt resigned, his conduct as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency had become the subject of 12 to 18 investigations, audits and inquiries. It's hard to know the precise number, as only some of the cases are public, but Pruitt may have set some kind of ethics-in-government record.

Ethics advocates are asking how he stayed long enough to trigger that many probes.

The last thing Washington needs right now is another blockbuster news story.

But here it comes anyway, President Trump's latest choice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. At a minimum, that person will be the center of attention in Washington through much of the summer and fall, through Senate hearings and deliberations — after which the nominee is highly likely to be confirmed and to serve on the nation's highest court for decades.

When it comes to Washington news stories, it doesn't get much bigger than that.

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Updated at 6:01 p.m. ET

Scott Pruitt will no longer lead the Environmental Protection Agency, President Trump announced Thursday afternoon via Twitter.

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt," Trump tweeted. "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," Trump also wrote.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the first state in the nation to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval to manage its own coal ash disposal program.

With a litany of alleged ethics controversies swirling at home, embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt took the show on the road this week, meeting with farmers in a handful of Midwestern states to talk about his policy agenda.

While Thursday evening's meeting in Lincoln, Neb., was polite, the reception in other states has not been as welcoming, especially when it comes to conversations about his ethanol policies.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Amid an unceasing series of revelations about alleged ethical misconduct, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is rapidly losing support with influential Republican lawmakers and conservatives who, until now, have strongly backed Pruitt and the pro-fossil fuel deregulatory agenda he's implemented.

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