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2 EPA aides leave amid Pruitt controversies

Two influential staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency are leaving the agency, CNN has learned.The se...

Posted: May 1, 2018 6:23 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 6:23 PM

Two influential staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency are leaving the agency, CNN has learned.

The security chief for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the leader of the agency's Superfund cleanup program are both departing, according to an internal email and an agency statement, respectively.

The exits come just days after Pruitt's management of the agency, including substantial spending on his personal security, travel, and office, came under scrutiny at back-to-back congressional hearings.

Pasquale "Nino" Perrotta, the special agent in charge of the Pruitt security detail, announced his departure in a one-sentence email to colleagues on Tuesday morning.

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve as a special agent for the past 23 years and I wish you all a safe journey ahead as you move forward in both your professional and personal lives," Perrotta wrote.

The security team overseen by Perrotta, a former Secret Service agent, has ballooned under Pruitt. Expensive and elaborate practices, such as flying in first class airplane seats, have drawn the attention of watchdogs like the EPA's own inspector general.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican, has indicated the House Oversight Committee, which he chairs, is interested in interviewing Perrotta about Pruitt's security and travel. Perrotta's predecessor was pushed aside after refusing to drive Pruitt around Washington using police lights and siren, three sources familiar with the situation told CNN.

The EPA has repeatedly defended the spending and security practices as necessary given an increased level of threats against Pruitt. But Senate Democrats say a whistleblower and internal documents cast doubt on the severity of the threats.

The EPA did not respond to CNN's request for comment on Perrotta's departure.

The other staffer leaving the EPA is Albert "Kell" Kelly, an Oklahoma business associate of Pruitt who was appointed to lead the Superfund cleanup program.

"Kell Kelly's service at EPA will be sorely missed," Pruitt said in a statement to CNN confirming the departure.

Kelly was a senior adviser to Pruitt whose role at EPA involved managing the program that cleans contaminated sites, such as dumping grounds and former industrial or mining facilities.

Pruitt appointed Kelly to the position after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an arm of the federal government that oversees the banking industry, ended Kelly's banking career with a lifetime ban from the industry. The exact nature of his violations were not disclosed.

Kelly's former bank, Spiritbank, handled the mortgage for Pruitt's 2004 home purchase in a suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The bank was also involved in the purchase of a minor league baseball team by Pruitt and business partners.

The New York Times reported that Kelly's bank also handled the mortgage on an Oklahoma City house Pruitt purchased through a shell company from a lobbyist. One of Pruitt's partners in the shell company also now holds a political appointment at the EPA.

Neither Perrotta nor Kelly announced the dates they plan to leave the agency.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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