Energy & Environment

Senate moves toward confirming Trump EPA air nominee

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EPA

The Senate on Wednesday advanced President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation, setting up a final vote later in the week.

The Senate voted 49-46 to end debate on William Wehrum’s nomination to be assistant administrator of the agency. If confirmed this week he will be only the second of Trump’s EPA nominees installed at the agency.

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Republicans broadly support Wehrum’s nomination, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying he will “help undo some of the damage of the Obama administration” because Wehrum would have a host of agency regulations under his purview.

“This is an office in desperate need of new leadership from an individual who understands how to implement policies in a balanced way, rather than with extreme regulatory overreach,” he said during debate on Wednesday.

Democrats have blasted Wehrum’s nomination, noting his legal work on behalf of fossil fuel industries he would soon be regulating.

“How can we ask Mr. Wehrum to objectively administer the Clean Air Act after a career spent on one side?” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). “He has 20 years-plus working for the industry as a lobbyist.”

The Senate could vote to confirm Wehrum as soon as Thursday.

Tags Ben Cardin Environmental Protection Agency Mitch McConnell

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