President Trump has been busy these last few days. Between traveling to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and Las Vegas to meet with victims of the deadly shooting that occurred earlier this week, he’s managed to squeeze in an important decision concerning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Yesterday afternoon the White House announced that President Trump “is picking Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist, and senior Republican congressional staffer, to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deputy administrator.” But who is Mr. Wheeler, exactly, and what will he bring to the table?
For starters, Wheeler currently works at “Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting,” where he works with clients such as “coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp. and uranium miner Energy Fuels Resources Inc.” Before his position at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, he “registered with Congress as a lobbyist.” However, in August he “removed his registration.” He spent a good chunk of his career working as a “senior staffer for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and even spent some time working at “the EPA’s toxics office.”
If Wheeler will be working as a deputy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, what does the EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, think of the president’s recent nomination? After all, if the nomination is confirmed by the Senate, “Wheeler would work directly under Pruitt” and will play a big role in undoing many “Obama administration regulations.” In a statement made recently, Pruitt said:
“Andrew will bring extraordinary credentials to EPA that will greatly assist the Agency as we work to implement our agenda. He has spent his entire career working to improve environmental outcomes for Americans across the country and understands the importance of providing regulatory certainty for our country.”
At the moment, Pruitt “is the only Senate-confirmed official at the EPA.” Though five others were nominated to different positions in the past, and even went through various hearings, the full Senate never actually “voted on any of them.” That doesn’t mean people aren’t excited about Wheeler’s nomination. Shortly after the nomination was announced, Inhofe released the following statement in support of Wheeler:
“I am pleased that President Trump has nominated Andrew Wheeler to serve as deputy administrator at the EPA. There is no one more qualified than Andrew to help Scott Pruitt restore EPA to its proper size and scope. I am confident he will serve the American people and President Trump with exceptional skill in this position, and I look forward to ensuring his swift confirmation.”