Trump taps ex-lobbyist for EPA No. 2 job

Trump taps ex-lobbyist for EPA No. 2 job
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President Trump is picking Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist and senior Republican congressional staffer, to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deputy administrator.

The White House announced the nomination Thursday afternoon.

Wheeler works at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, where his clients have included coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp. and uranium miner Energy Fuels Resources Inc.

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He was previously registered with Congress as a lobbyist, but removed his registration in August.

“Andrew will bring extraordinary credentials to EPA that will greatly assist the Agency as we work to implement our agenda,” EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Senate confirms top EPA air regulator | Feds to roll back emissions rule for big trucks | Defense bill mandates climate study EPA seeks to repeal part of Obama emissions rule for big trucks Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA MORE said in a statement.

“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.”

Prior to his Faegre Baker Daniels work, Wheeler was a senior staffer for Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeMcCain backs Pentagon nominee despite concerns over defense industry ties GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate Trump feuds endangering tax reform MORE (R-Okla.), both when he was chairman and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Before that, he worked at the EPA’s toxics office.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wheeler would work directly under Pruitt, responsible for Trump’s aggressive agenda of undoing Obama administration regulations.

Pruitt is currently the only Senate-confirmed official at the EPA. Five other officials have been nominated and gone through hearings, but the full Senate has not voted on any of them.

“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,” Inhofe said in a Thursday statement.

“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,” he said.