Udall Statement on Trump Intent to Nominate Andrew Wheeler as EPA Administrator

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President Donald Trump signaled plans to nominate Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as the permanent EPA administrator at a White House event on Friday.

"I opposed Mr. Wheeler's original nomination because I have serious concerns about what his background - as a coal lobbyist who undermined climate science - means for his leadership of EPA, and because I foresaw he would soon be called on to lead the agency in the wake of Scott Pruitt's devastating tenure without being sufficiently vetted for the position".

Trump announced his plans for Wheeler nearly in passing Friday at a White House ceremony for Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees.

"I will try to work to implement the president's agenda", Wheeler told The Post shortly after he took over the reins at EPA this summer". "Where's Andrew?" Trump continued.

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Trump has not yet officially nominated Wheeler as EPA administrator, at which point Wheeler would have to be confirmed by the Senate after facing questions at hearings.

Wheeler, like Pruitt before him, has worked systematically to undo numerous environmental regulations put in place by Trump's Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.

Since becoming acting EPA head, Wheeler has advanced proposals that would ease emissions limits for power plants, for cars and for oil and gas facilities, rejecting earlier EPA findings that some of the moves would lead to increased deaths from pollutants. In the acting role, Wheeler has a reputation as a more open and cordial boss for employees than Pruitt was, and for producing regulatory rewrites more likely to stand up to court challenges. He previously worked at the EPA under the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

"In normal times, a zealous fossil fuel apologist and the top official in charge of protecting children's health from pollution would be two separate people with conflicting agendas", said Cook.

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