The Senate just confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to be the second in command at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Thursday vote was largely along party lines — 53-45. Sens. Joe Donnelly from Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, and Joe Manchin from West Virginia were the only Democrats to vote in favor of the confirmation.
Wheeler is one of only a handful of President Donald Trump’s picks for the EPA confirmed so far, and he comes in as the agency’s leader Scott Pruitt faces multiple ethics allegations, from frequent first-class travel to leasing a condo tied to an energy lobbyist.
Wheeler was tapped for the job while running the energy and environment practice at the Washington, DC-based consulting law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels. In this position, he’s lobbied for Murray Energy Corporation, the largest US coal mining company, and other energy companies on issues tied to the EPA as recently as last summer, according to lobbying disclosure forms. He deregistered as a lobbyist in August 2017, according to the EPA. [Continue reading…]
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