Published: Sun, March 03, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

U.S. Senate confirms acting EPA chief for permanent role

U.S. Senate confirms acting EPA chief for permanent role

Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Wednesday she will oppose Andrew Wheeler, President Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, complicating the nominee's path to approval by the Senate. He filled the post after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned last July. "Administrator Wheeler must work quickly to fix that damage to the rural economy and restore more than 2 billion gallons of lost biofuel demand".

"With Andrew Wheeler-dealer at the helm, it's truly time to rename EPA the 'Environmental Pollution Agency, '" declared Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation Earthjustice.

"We look forward to continuing our work with EPA on these priorities and more to ensure a bright future for America and homegrown biofuels", Skor said. "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". "As the head of EPA, Administrator Wheeler can improve our emissions regulations to encourage competition and innovation, and give American drivers access to affordable and renewable fuel choices", she said. "And he seems to be perfectly happy to scrap decades of environmental progress of clean air and clean water". "From his actions as acting administrator for the past eight months, we have clear evidence of his agenda: undermine rules to limit toxic mercury, allow more smog and water pollution, and roll back protections against the threat of climate change". Global emissions also rose in 2018. The move has called into question California's 40-year practice of setting its own mileage and emission regulations.

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. Collins said Wheeler is qualified for the job and acts in accordance with ethical standards.

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"That all was sort of bound to fail because it was such a rush job by people who didn't really know what they were doing", Hartl said.

While Democrats initially viewed Wheeler as a pragmatic technocrat with whom they could forge a handful of policy compromises, they expressed disappointment over key decisions he has made at the agency. During the Obama administration, he worked for a law firm that represented and did lobbying work for Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal producers, whose founder and chairman was a large Trump supporter.

A new administration, he noted, can reverse course and try to undo some of the deregulation.

Since Wheeler began leading the agency, he has continued work on numerous same priorities as his predecessor, including looking to roll back Obama-era air and water pollution regulations. At his confirmation hearing in January, Wheeler talked about the dozens of rules that the EPA has rolled back over the past few years.

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