Trump taps ex-lobbyist for EPA No. 2 job

Trump taps ex-lobbyist for EPA No. 2 job
© Getty

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards 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 InhofeOn The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration Trump to sign border deal, declare national emergency Foreign Affairs chairman: US military intervention in Venezuela 'not an option' 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.