Andrew Wheeler, the man replacing scandal-struck Scott Pruitt as head of the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), may not be much better than his predecessor, according to the green groups who dubbed Pruitt the agency’s worst-ever chief.
For some Republican supporters of Trump and Pruitt allies, the ethical mistakes were outweighed by the curbing of the federal government workforce, the eradication of the Paris climate accord, the regulations that were targeted and Pruitt’s willingness to engage with industry executives and lobbyists.
He denied wrongdoing amid multiple inquiries into his conduct.
Wheeler’s scandal-free clean slate may give him an opportunity to pursue Trump’s agenda with the EPA no longer in the spotlight, though it’s unclear how long he’ll be running things at the agency as he has said in the past he’s not interested in the top job.
Meanwhile, activists argued Mr Pruitt’s policies of moving to boost fossil fuel production and rollback regulations opposed by corporate interests had endangered the environment. President Trump tweeted the announcement, saying the agency’s deputy administrator will assume the position until the President nominates a new Secretary. Wheeler is a former coal industry lobbyist.
Wheeler shares numerous Pruitt’s policy views and was confirmed as deputy in April with only three Democratic votes. “In the meantime, I know Assistant Administrator Andrew Wheeler is well prepared to continue the progress already made under President Trump”, the Wyoming senator added.
Wheeler is Pruitt’s “ideological twin”, just with more “political savvy” according to the article.
Wheeler is no stranger to the EPA. James Inhofe (R-OK), including as chief counsel for the senator on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. Before that he worked on Capitol Hill and, like Pruitt, he’s a target for liberals who see him as a champion of polluters and climate change deniers.
Yet for many critics, who have watched with apprehension as Wheeler ascended the EPA ladder, that kind of experience and approach is beside the point. As Oklahoma’s former attorney general, he waged a legal fight against the environmental rules implemented by the agency he eventually would head.
During his time as a congressional staffer, Wheeler worked as a senior aide to Republican Sen.
The list of accusations levelled against the 50-year-old EPA chief had grown nearly too long to itemise.
“It is time for new leadership at the EPA”, Stefanik said in a statement.
Wheeler was a lobbyist for Murray Energy, among the largest coal companies in the country. So, who is Andrew Wheeler? Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, were the only Democrats to support Wheeler. All three face tough re-elections in states Trump won easily last fall. Sen.
“We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment”, she says to him in the video.
Mr Pruitt’s resignation is the latest in a long list of White House departures since Mr Trump took office a year ago.