Senate Confirms ex-Coal Lobbyist to Lead US Environment Regulator

Senate Confirms ex-Coal Lobbyist to Lead US Environment Regulator

On Feb. 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been running the agency since Trump's first administrator, Scott Pruitt, stepped down in July amid scandals surrounding his management and spending practices.

And the list of regulations Wheeler has overseen in his short tenure as the acting administrator is ever growing.

The Senate voted mostly along party lines to confirm Wheeler as the nation's top environmental regulator.

Andrew Wheeler will become permanent EPA administrator.

Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, voted against Wheeler after having supported his nomination as deputy administrator previous year.

Only one Republican in the Republican-controlled Senate opposed Wheeler, Maine's Susan Collins, who argued his efforts to roll back standards on emissions blamed for climate change takes the country in the wrong direction.

In the seven months since, Wheeler has released them rapid-fire. The new regulation freezing fuel economy increases and revoking California's right to set its own standards and do such things as mandate electric auto sales is set to be released by April 1.

America's Power, a trade group that represents coal producers, applauded Wheeler's confirmation. Wheeler "hasn't demonstrated a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards and has rolled back clean air standards", he said.

During his confirmation hearing in January, he said he did not believe climate change was a major crisis - a stance that resonates with Trump's skepticism but which clashes with the scientific consensus that global warming will have devastating consequences if not addressed urgently.

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Earthjustice noted that during his confirmation hearings, Wheeler totally dismissed the significance of climate change and shied away from committing to any significant action to protect children and families from harmful contaminants. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. A month later, federal scientists from 13 agencies, including the EPA, confirmed the findings in a National Climate Assessment that forecast USA average temperatures surging "9 degrees F (5 degrees C) or more by the end of this century".

The agency has also moved to rollback Obama-era standards on fuel economy and emissions that would cut carbon emissions in passenger vehicles in half by 2025.

Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Wednesday that Trump picked the right man for the job.

Barrasso pointed to the EPA's push to scale back limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and the federal government's jurisdiction over water bodies in the United States.

"Regulatory certainty has been key to the historic manufacturing job growth we've seen under the current administration, and that would not have been possible without Andrew's leadership at EPA", Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers said in an statement.

Environmental groups said that although Wheeler's behavior is "less cartoonish" than Pruitt, he supports the same policies.

Tom Udall of New Mexico said Wheeler was "nominated to unravel and undo the environmental protections that are now in place".

"Unlike with some nominees, we do not have to speculate about what Mr. Wheeler will do in office", Gore said.

All five senators had met with Wheeler earlier in February over the issue and voted to approve Wheeler on Thursday.

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