Collins to vote against Trump's EPA pick

Collins to vote against Trump's EPA pick
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump on US coronavirus risks: 'We're very, very ready for this' GOP, Democrats hash out 2020 strategy at dueling retreats Chamber looks to support Democratic allies in 2020 MORE (R-Maine) says she will vote against the confirmation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary MORE’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying his policies are “not in the best interest” of the environment or the country’s public health.

In a statement tweeted Wednesday, Collins said she has “too many concerns” about actions acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler has overseen while leading the EPA since July

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“While Mr. Wheeler is certainly qualified for this position, I have too many concerns with the actions he has taken during his tenure as Acting Administrator to be able to support his promotion,” she wrote.

“I believe that Mr. Wheeler, unlike Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' Architect of controversial EPA policies to return as chief of staff: report EPA asked to justify proposal to limit power of its science advisers MORE, understands the mission of the EPA and acts in accordance with ethical standards; however, the policies he has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation.”

Wheeler took over as acting EPA administrator following the resignation of Pruitt, who stepped down amid a series of ethics and spending scandals.

Collins specifically pointed to the agency’s rollback of its rules on mercury air pollution, power plant pollution and car emissions as examples of policies concerning her. Wheeler oversaw the rollout and was involved in the final construction of the policy changes.

“Reducing harmful air pollutants is critical for public health, particularly for Maine which has among the highest rates of asthma in the country,” Collins wrote.

“The agency’s recent efforts to halt progress in these critical areas takes us in the wrong direction.”

The vote on Wheeler’s confirmation will be held Thursday. Trump nominated Wheeler to take over the EPA in a formal capacity in early January.

Collins in the past has been considered a swing voter. However, despite Wheeler's former energy lobbyist ties and actions he’s taken in agreement with fossil fuel industries, it’s expected that the former energy lobbyist will be confirmed handily by the GOP-controlled Senate.