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Dispatches: Five Essential Reads From the Past Week

A collection of some of our most important and timely stories, from an introduction to new Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to a primer on California's upcoming fire season.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on April 26th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Scott Pruitt testifies before the House Appropriations Committee on April 26th, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

  1. On Thursday, President Donald Trump accepted the resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt's time in the position was marred by numerous scandals. From questionable use of taxpayer dollars to misuse of EPA employee time to getting favors from industry lobbyists, new issues seemed to arise every week, and until this week Pruitt had held on. But his time has finally run out. To get a full sense of Pruitt's many scandals, associate editor Rebecca Worby compiled a list of his most notable controversies. Read Worby's piece here.
  2. So what's next for the embattled agency? Second-in-command of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler is set to take over for the time being. Wheeler has largely flown under the radar since his confirmation back in April. However, as staff writer Kate Wheeling notes, Wheeler has a checkered past of his own, most notably his former position as a fossil fuel lobbyist and his work for a noted climate change denier Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma). Read Wheeling's explainer here.
  3. Last year, California saw it's worst fire season on record, one that resulted in $10 billion in damages. Instead of a reprieve, it appears conditions for this year will be even worse than last. The County Fire in Northern California, which began last weekend, is only the start of what looks to be another trying fire season. Read the story here.
  4. In a year of youth movements for reform—e.g. the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for gun control—there is another protest being led by teenagers, but this time it's to advocate for meaningful climate action from the United States government. Contributing writer Sophie Yeo spoke with the leader of the Zero Hour march (set for July 21st in Washington, D.C.), Jamie Margolin, who explains the roots of the movement and why the march won't be passing by the White House. Read Yeo's Story here.
  5. Last Sunday, Mexico elected a new president, the left-leaning firebrand Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The day before the election, Ricky Ochoa-Kaup sat down with Viridiana Ross, a fellow at the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, who researches corruption, violence, and economic development in the country about the most significant issues the country faces and how that shaped the election results. Read Keller's piece here.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of