UPDATE (02/28/19): The Senate has confirmed Andrew Wheeler to lead the EPA in a 47-52 vote.
Donald Trump’s pick for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, is a lawyer and former coal lobbyist for Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting. As recently as 2017, Wheeler lobbied for coal giant Murray Energy, attending a meeting in March 2017 between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and coal executive Robert Murray in which Murray requested policy changes that would eliminate the Clean Power and Clean Water rules.
Since July of 2018, Wheeler has served as the Acting Administrator of the EPA after Scott Pruitt was forced to resign due to mounting scandals. Since taking over the EPA, Wheeler has weakened rules to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants, and has proposed plans to relax protections for streams and wetlands, ease regulations for mercury pollution and eliminate restrictions on new coal-fired plants. During his recent confirmation hearings, Wheeler argued that he would not call climate change “the greatest crisis” facing our planet.
With Wheeler’s nomination, Trump is placing a climate change denier who lobbied for coal and other energy giants in the agency tasked with regulating them. In 2006 he posited that the earth is simply going through “a cooling phase,” and in 2010, he suggested the endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gas emissions on public health should be “reconsidered.” It is clear Wheeler has strong ties to the coal industry, and that he would work for their interests, rather than the interests of the public and the environment.