Senate Confirms Coal Lobbyist as the EPA’s New #2

Meet Andrew Wheeler, the new Deputy Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency. Heís a longtime coal lobbyist who doubts climate change. Normally, those traits would disqualify him from becoming the second-highest-ranking official at the EPA, but thatís probably precisely what got him nominated by President Donald Trump.

Additional thanks goes to the Republican-led Senate, which decided to ignore the obvious conflicts at hand and confirm him with a 53-45 vote. As Vice News points out, Wheeler has previously hosted a number of fundraisers for the very Senators who voted him to his position.

Until 2017, Wheeler worked as the head of Faegre Baker Daniels, an energy and natural resources advocacy firm that lobbies Congress against instituting environmental regulations on behalf of Murray Energy, a giant in the coal industry.

ďSadly, I am concerned that Andrew Wheelerís background means that he will never understand that saving coal is not the job of the EPA,Ē said Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat who voted against the confirmation. ďIt is the EPAís job to regulate coal to protect public health and the environment.Ē

Wheeler also worked for 14 years as a congressional staffer on energy policy for Senator Jim Inhofe, a lawmaker you probably know best for claiming that climate change isnít real because he was holding a snowball.

Itís therefore no surprise that Wheeler hedged questions from senators about climate change with this response: ďI believe that man has an impact on the climate, but itís not completely understood what the impact is.Ē

This confirmation comes at an especially tumultuous time for the EPA. Scott Pruitt is at the center of about a dozen scandals, and in any other administration he would have most certainly been fired by now.

In the fairly likely event that Pruitt resigns, gets fired or is impeached in the not too distant future, the deputy administration would become the acting director, meaning Wheeler would then be in charge of the EPA. What a remarkable feat for a coal industry insider!

Although itís discouraging to see that Trump is fixated on positioning one environmental-destroyer after another in EPA leadership roles, thatís no excuse not to get a man as despicably unethical as Pruitt out of the government. Donít forget to sign this Care2 petition to make sure he gets the boot for his egregiously poor leadership and moral compass.

In the meantime, Pruitt seems pretty excited to have someone who is committed to undermining the EPA serve as his #2. He wrote on Twitter, ďAndrew has spent his entire career advancing sound environmental policies & I look forward to working with him to implement President Trumpís environmental agenda.Ē

Thatís precisely the problem. Of course a man who made his fortune from representing the coal industry is going to be on board for Trumpís aggressively anti-regulatory approach to handling (and in reality not handling) corporations that pollute extensively. This administration cannot end soon enough.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

61 comments

Chad A
Chad A5 months ago

Thank you!

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

Noted

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Patty L
Patty Langford5 months ago

wonder if he needs a cone of silence & a security detail. no doubt he is a grifter like the rest of the unqualified jerks the GOP has confirmed. tyfs

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Debra G
Debra G5 months ago

But of course - should Pruitt not screw it sufficiently, he’ll have back up. Fortunately, there are plenty of states and environmental groups suing the hell out of the EPA to keep some of their edicts from being implemented.

Luna, I see you’ve a birthday coming up. Happy b’day - I wish you some critical thinking skills. And since you just joined Care2 in October, you may not have seen how many articles, backed by science, that show the human impact on our climate. Your Republican professor has his own agenda to push, just as professors of history at evangelical colleges insist that Jesus walked with the dinosaurs. And no, Al Gore wasn’t the father of climate change, but he was one of the first celebrity names to raise worldwide awareness and advocate for change.

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Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago

Thanks.

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Joan E
Joan E5 months ago

Everybody Trump appoints is a Number Two.

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john casablanca
john casablanca5 months ago

Luna S. - I will not continue to attempt to duel with you, as I believe that you are using Care 2 as a social platform to expound your belief on climate change, which I as well as many others including scientists disagree with. My personal belief is that you do not attend a college or university, unless it is online or not an accredited school.. With your English being so horrendous, how can you write a paper or prepare for a dissertation, when you would not be able to communicate properly. Whomever advised you that when making a comment, that punctuation doesn't matter must have attended the same college/university that you are presently attending. You are entitled to your opinion, which I believe is wrong, about climate change, but please do not pretend to be an educated person, because you are not. You are in my opinion a die hard Republican, who writes and speaks as badly as Fuhrer Trumpf. There will be no further reply or comment regarding you from me, you aren't challenging enough.
John C./Houston, Tx.

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Elaine W
Elaine W5 months ago

The Senate majority power are such predictable toadies enabling the blatant rip off of the country.

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David C
David C5 months ago

Is this being used as "job security" for "must go Pruitt"??????

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Lesa D
Lesa D5 months ago

well of course they did...

thank you Kevin...

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