President Donald Trump will nominate a top coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler, to serve as the Environmental Protection Agency’s deputy administrator, according to two senior administration officials. This is the second most prominent position in the entire agency.
Wheeler is a Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting lobbyist whose clients include coal mining company Murray Energy – whose chief executive, Bob Murray, has been a prominent supporter of President Trump since 2009. He also most recently served as a top aide for Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Per the Washington Post:
“In March 2010, Wheeler commented on a National Journal blog post, saying that the IPCC “has functioned more as a political body than a scientific body” and that the agency should revisit its 2009 finding that carbon-dioxide emissions pose a threat to public health. He suggested lawmakers back a proposal at the time by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) to overturn the endangerment finding and “allow legislators to craft sensible energy policy that can promote energy independence without killing our domestic production of fossil fuels.”
Tiernan Sittenfeld, the League of Conservation Voters’ senior vice president for government affairs, said in email, “With these nominations, President Trump is once again catering to his polluter allies and prioritizing their profits over our kids’ health.”
This is like letting the wolf guard the hen house.
Trump is also likely to nominate Bill Wehrum, an energy industry attorney for assistant administrator for air and radiation, who oversee climate change programs.
Previous reports on the internet had Trump picking long-time coal industry lobbyist Jeff Holmstead into the EPA’s top 2 spot, but the Washington Post is reporting that Wheeler is the preferred choice. Either way, Trump would be handing over the EPA to the coal industry.
The nomination will require Senate confirmation and is likely to face major pushback from Democrats on Capitol Hill.