President Donald Trump signaled plans to nominate Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as the permanent EPA administrator at a White House event on Friday.
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“Acting administrator who I will tell you is going to be made permanent. He’s done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him. EPA Andrew Wheeler,” Trump said when introducing members of his Cabinet at a Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House.
Wheeler took over as head of the EPA in July after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. Wheeler was confirmed as deputy EPA administrator in April after working as a lobbyist for energy and coal companies. He previously worked at the EPA under the George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
Environmental groups have criticized Wheeler for his part work lobbying for coal companies and have criticized his work furthering Trump’s agenda to roll back environmental regulations.
Wheeler has had a relatively quiet year since taking over at EPA compared to the controversial tenure of his predecessor, but has continued to pursue the administration’s agenda of reducing environmental regulations that he says were too burdensome on businesses under the Obama administration.
Trump has not yet officially nominated Wheeler as EPA administrator, at which point Wheeler would have to be confirmed by the Senate after facing questions at hearings.