Trump will nominate former lobbyist to lead environmental agency

Federico Mansilla
Noviembre 19, 2018

After a career as a coal lobbyist and five months as acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler has been tapped by President Trump to be the agency's next administrator.

"I opposed Mr. Wheeler's original nomination because I have serious concerns about what his background - as a coal lobbyist who undermined climate science - means for his leadership of EPA, and because I foresaw he would soon be called on to lead the agency in the wake of Scott Pruitt's devastating tenure without being sufficiently vetted for the position".

CNBC reports that in making the announcement, Trump introduced Wheeler as an "acting administrator who, I will tell you, is going to be made permanent". Trump said Friday that Wheeler was doing a "fantastic job".

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Wheeler's promotion from acting to permanent EPA chief would keep him as a methodical and effective agent in Trump's mission of rolling back environmental regulations that the administration regards as burdensome to business. Wheeler made clear from the start that he intends to carry out numerous regulatory rollbacks set in motion under Pruitt, and to pursue new ones.

In the months since, Wheeler has continued to advance Trump's agenda, proposing rules to loosen carbon limits on power plants and relax fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. Environmental groups quickly voiced their opposition. "Whether or not he's confirmed by the Senate to be the next administrator, when Wheeler's time at EPA ends, more children will have been exposed to unsafe pollutants".

It was not clear if Wheeler had been informed beforehand of Trump's intentions; EPA spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment. Wheeler was confirmed as deputy EPA administrator in April after working as a lobbyist for energy and coal companies.

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