EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing

EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing

"This is an outrage!"

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee that will hear from Wheeler on Wednesday and question him, said earlier this month that Wheeler had done an "outstanding" job running the EPA.

"You are a former coal industry lobbyist that is sitting here".

"Wheeler has proven to be a steady hand, and has demonstrated effective leadership while advancing regulatory reforms alongside continued strong environmental protections", Chamber of Commerce executives said in a statement.

Carper cited rollbacks in vehicle mileage standards and toxic mercury emissions under Wheeler as examples of unsafe deregulation, saying they went beyond what industries themselves wanted.

"President Trump has said multiple times that he supports year-round sales of E-15".

He refused to call the rapid warming of the planet a crisis.

Wheeler told lawmakers that he had yet to read a massive government climate-change report released late previous year that emphasized man-made climate change was already underway. "I would not call it the greatest crisis, no sir". But as Guardian environment reporter Oliver Milman noted, a Harvard study forecasts that the EPA's current proposals will increase carbon emissions by 8.7% in 18 states and Washington, DC by 2030.

Wheeler hasn't addressed publicly how his agency is incorporating the findings of a major government climate change study released over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wheeler responded that he'd not been fully briefed on the report because of the government shutdown. 95% of the EPA is now furloughed. He said of Wheeler, "He will be a reasonable voice within the agency".

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"It is hard to understand how preparing you for next week's confirmation hearing credibly falls within any of the categories listed in EPA's Contingency Plan, particularly the category of employee that is 'necessary to protect life and property, '" wrote Senators Tom Carper, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland in a letter to the EPA.

While there has been a shift in tone, however, the policies of the EPA under Wheeler have been largely similar to those under Pruitt, and his confirmation vote is likely to be along partisan lines. "Participation in and preparation for a confirmation hearing that has been scheduled by Congress is clearly excepted under Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, opinions", EPA General Counsel Matt Leopold said in a statement last week. He is to appear Wednesday before a Senate committee considering his nomination. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoRepublican senators skeptical of using national emergency for wall funding NASA facility in West Virginia renamed after native and "hidden figure" Katherine Johnson Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming MORE (R-W.Va.).

Wheeler said he would provide a written response.

"Acting Administrator Wheeler works closely with career EPA ethics officials and follows their guidance".

Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler faced tough questioning from Democrats regarding his stance on climate change at his hearing to officially take on the top position in the agency.

In November, the president said he meant to nominate Wheeler permanently to the position, saying at a White House event that "he's done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him".

Two issues expected to feature prominently at his hearing are the administration's views on climate change and Wheeler's ties to the coal industry.

Wheeler accompanied Murray to a March 2017 meeting to pitch Murray's list of desired rule rollbacks and other breaks for coal to Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

"No", Whitehouse said. "That's your client".

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