Who is Andrew Wheeler, the new acting EPA administrator?

06 July, 2018, 18:27 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals

With a top coal lobbyist stepping in to serve as acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), few people are expecting Scott Pruitt's resignation to slow down the Trump administration's efforts to deal a knock-out blow to the agency's ability to protect the environment.

After much prodding by numerous advisers, Trump eventually decided Pruitt's troubles would only grow and that Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler -whom he deemed an "early Trump supporter and a very environmental person" could do just as well, administration officials said. "General Sessions and I are friends and I have always said I want nothing more than to see him succeed in his role", Pruitt told Politico in a statement about the report on CNN. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. "I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence", Pruitt wrote.

"However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally [and] my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us", he added.

Wednesday night, Pruitt was on the White House lawn, watching fireworks explode over the Washington sky.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, has been under scrutiny for months amid reports involving questionable spending on first-class plane tickets, use of security detail, connections with lobbyists and industry groups, and use of his office for favors.

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Kieran Suckling, from America's Centre for Biological Diversity, said: "Despite his brief tenure, Pruitt was the worst EPA chief in history". Other names have been floated as possible Pruitt successors, including Donald Van der Vaart, a former environmental official in North Carolina. Wheeler was first rumored to be chosen for the EPA in March 2017. He was also found by the Government Accountability Office to have violated federal spending law when purchasing a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office.

Wheeler also had a number of other high-profile clients in the energy sector, according to the Washington Post, and many of these companies have an interest in the regulations Wheeler will now make decisions about as acting head of the EPA. Pruitt, who gave every appearance of being in the pocket of industry, spent large portions of his time denying the existence of climate change. But Hart was later forced to admit he had met with Pruitt at EPA headquarters last summer after his firm, Williams & Jensen, revealed he had lobbied the agency on a required federal disclosure form.

"It was a secret. and they would decide what to nix from the public calendar". In addition, he was formerly chief of staff to Sen.

Pruitt had become a constant source of embarrassment to a president who had entered Washington promising to "Drain the Swamp". This differs from Pruitt, who drew attention not only for his aggressive moves to cut back regulations but also for mounting scandals and questions about potential ethics violations.

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