Trump to name EPA’s acting chief to post permanently

President Trump unexpectedly announces he will pick ex-coal lobbyist to permanently replace Scott Pruitt at EPA

President Trump unexpectedly announces he will pick ex-coal lobbyist to permanently replace Scott Pruitt at EPA

Andrew Wheeler, who has been the EPA's acting head since the resignation of scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, will be nominated to lead the agency, President Donald Trump said Friday.

Trump will have to formally nominate Wheeler and then the U.S. Senate will vote on his confirmation, an expected outcome as the chamber is led by Trump's fellow Republicans. Those proposals, along with moves to change the way the agency calculates the health benefits of new air pollution standards, have sparked sharp criticism from environmental and public health groups. He's done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him.

According to Reuters, Wheeler worked at the EPA in the 1990s, and was later a staffer for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), an outspoken climate change denier.

"The ideal choice to lead the EPA", Inhofe tweeted Friday.

The grandson of a coal miner, Wheeler told staffers in his first days as the agency's acting head this summer that he was proud of his roots in coal country.

In the months since, Wheeler has continued to advance the president's agenda, proposing rules to loosen carbon limits on power plants and relax fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

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However, Wheeler also has slowed another Pruitt-era rollback that would have allowed trucks rigged with outdated, dirtier-burning engines to stay on the road.

"Compared to Administrators Ruckelshaus or Whitman, he's not doing almost as well", Carper added.

It was not clear if Wheeler had been informed beforehand of Trump's intentions; EPA spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

Wheeler took the reins at EPA after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July following a slew of ethical controversies that included his first-class travel, round-the-clock security detail, and expensive office equipment. Environmental groups condemned the announcement.

A former lobbyist for coal and other industries, Wheeler has a reputation as a lower-profile, methodical steward of the Trump administration's deregulatory mission.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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