Who Is Andrew Wheeler, Trump's New EPA Chief?

Evan Vucci  AP

Evan Vucci AP

Murray's CEO Robert Murray has supported Trump for years, and long worked to do away with health and safety regulations like the Clean Power Plan.

"The fact that he's more familiar with the inner workings of the D.C. -policy making machine could make him even more effective than Pruitt at carrying out Trump's extreme and unsafe pro-polluter, anti-people agenda", Redman said. The group says it also "helped expose many of his scandals" thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests.

"Despite his brief tenure, Pruitt was the worst EPA chief in history", said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Andrew Wheeler, the EPA's current deputy administrator, will take over as the organisation's acting head on Monday, Mr Trump said. Now he will be at a very high-ranking position at the EPA, where he will be in a position to make lots of decisions that could benefit his former clients.

Frank Maisano, a longtime public relations specialist for the energy industry and a former press spokesperson for several Republican members of Congress, told NPR that "Wheeler is the opposite of very partisan".

"Senators must confirm a nominee who will hold the health and safety of American families in higher regard than the profits of big polluters", he adds.

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One of the energy companies that the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency worked for as a lobbyist is seeking contracts from the agency, raising questions among environmentalists about whether he can put his past behind him as he becomes the nation's top environmental protector. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., author of the book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future and who NRDC calls "without question the most virulent climate denier on Capitol Hill". Where Pruitt's somewhat sloppy policymaking means that some of his rulings can be challenged in court, Wheeler is known to be meticulous and may ultimately end up causing even more damage to environmental protection than his predecessor.

In a hearing on his appointment as the agency's deputy administrator last November, Wheeler described himself as someone who "always tried to find common ground and work across the aisle" in Washington.

Wheeler has spent more than two decades in Washington.

It's not just Wheeler's time in government that concerns environmental advocates.

Before Wheeler took on the post as Pruitt's second-in-command, he was a principle consultant for FaegreBD Consulting.

This incident comes as the latest in a series of public confrontations between Trump administration officials and outraged citizens. She was referring to allegations that Pruitt ignored all but his own political appointees at the agency, and used his office for personal gain. "The independent and experienced leader cared deeply about the future of the agency and restored its effectiveness. We must have someone running the EPA that will protect clean air and clean water". "Unlike Pruitt, Wheeler worked for the EPA early in his career and has played key roles in Congressional oversight of the agency and its budget, making him a formidable opponent with intimate knowledge of the agency's programs and regulations", the group said in the April blog post.

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