The Senate on Thursday confirmed previous coal field lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as the up coming administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in a 52 to forty seven vote, mainly together get together traces.
The addition to President Trump’s cabinet of Wheeler, who has served as performing EPA administrator due to the fact previous main Scott Pruitt resigned very last July amid a slew of ethics investigations, has been in the will work considering the fact that November, when the president formally nominated him to the write-up.
“The Senate has taken decisive action to ensure Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the [EPA],” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., tweeted. “As acting administrator of [the EPA], he has prioritized commonsense policies that safeguard our air & water, when allowing for our financial state to expand.”
Wheeler’s nomination – and his time as acting EPA administrator – has not been without having controversy as lots of Democrats and environmental activists have criticized him for his close ties to the coal industry and for his drive to deregulate a selection of environmental principles and safeguards carried out by the Obama administration.
“Senate Republicans have formally put a coal lobbyist in cost of safeguarding our kids from the filthy air and toxic h2o made by his corporate polluting consumers,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune reported in a assertion on Thursday. “With each individual rollback, Wheeler is stacking the deck in favor of the polluting corporations who formerly utilized him, leaving our family members to pay the price tag of more toxic pollution with their health.”
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to oppose Wheeler’s confirmation.
“While Mr. Wheeler is certainly competent for this position, I have much too a lot of concerns with the actions he has taken in the course of his tenure as Performing Administrator to be able to assist his promotion,” Collins mentioned in a assertion. “The policies he has supported as Performing Administrator are not in the very best desire of our natural environment and public well being, particularly given the risk of local climate transform to our nation.”
Wheeler began his vocation at the EPA’s Data Management Division before going on to serve as Main Counsel to Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okay., and then as a lobbyist at the regulation agency of Faegre Baker Daniels, where he represented controversial coal producer Murray Energy. Trump nominated him in October 2017 to be the EPA’s deputy administrator.
Throughout his time as acting EPA administrator, Wheeler has proposed a slackening of the carbon restrictions on electric power plants and an easing of the gas-performance benchmarks for vehicles and gentle vehicles. He has also sought to make new coal-fired power plants easier to approve, undo the authorized justifications for curbing mercury emissions from energy vegetation and to limit the federal government’s energy above guarding small waterways
Wheeler’s press to deregulate, nevertheless, has been paired with an easing off of some of Pruitt’s a lot more controversial regulatory options, these kinds of as 1 to simplicity the emissions policies for extensive-haul vehicles. Final week, Wheeler also put forth a system to enact tougher limits on nitrogen-oxide emissions from large-responsibility vans.
His confirmation on Thursday was greeted with praise by the industry he applied to symbolize, who see him as an ally in the battle to roll back the polices enacted in Obama’s Clean Electric power Plan.
“Andrew Wheeler has been seen as a considerate leader who understands the require for reasonable environmental policies,” Michelle Bloodworth, the president of the coal field group America’s Energy, explained in a assertion. “His extensive working experience in general public service demonstrates his integrity in serving EPA’s mission. We congratulate Administrator Wheeler, and glimpse ahead to his continued management at the EPA.”