Pruitt Out, Wheeler In At The EPA

Evan Vucci  AP

Like President Trump, Wheeler is active on Twitter, although he has not tweeted since the news of his appointment was announced.

Wheeler left a position as a top aide in the Senate almost a decade ago to become a successful lobbyist for the energy industry.

On top of that, he entered into, for example, a controversial rental arrangement for the first six months of his tenure, with the wife of a lobbyist, herself a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, where he only paid $50 a night on the nights that he stayed there.

Senior White House advisor Stephen Miller has also been confronted by protesters, including being called a "fascist" while dining at a Mexican restaurant and, most recently, facing a crowd of demonstrators outside his home in D.C. who gathered to denounce the zero immigration policy, USA Today reported. The group Save the US EPA keeps a roster of endangered programs.

The latest allegation comes amid other allegations over Pruitt's behavior.

Wheeler is originally from Hamilton, Ohio, his biography on the EPA website said.

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Pruitt proposed past year to repeal a key climate-change regulation of President Barack Obama's administration, which aimed to reduce emissions of carbon-trapping gases from coal-fired power plants. He accompanied Murray CEO Bob Murray during a series of closed-door meetings to lobby the Trump administration to kill environmental regulations affecting coal mines.

"There's not a single person who doesn't think that will happen", Southerland said of the current EPA staffers she has talked to.

"Andrew Wheeler's coal credentials are without equal".

After Pruitt's resignation, all eyes are on Wheeler.

Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at Bracewell and a former acting administrator for air at the EPA during the George W. Bush administration, told Politico that he expects to see a "much more typical EPA with Andy there".

Trump says: "He came to me and said I have such great confidence in the administration I don't want to be a distraction".

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Until his nomination by Trump last fall, Wheeler worked as a lobbyist with a client list that included Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal mining companies.

Asked by Sciutto how Democrats would block Wheeler should he go through the confirmation process, Sanders said they will need to "get a handful of Republican senators ... and get them on board to demand that Trump appoint an EPA administrator who represents the American people and not just the fossil fuel industry".

In October 2017, he notably led a proposal to repeal the CPP, following an order from Trump earlier in the year to "suspend, revise or rescind four actions related to the Clean Power Plan that would stifle the American energy industry".

"He was clearly unfit for the position of public trust that he was in as administrator of the EPA", said Spaulding.

While Wheeler did not lobby the EPA while he was under consideration for a job at the agency, his lobbying firm's colleagues did.

The Senate confirmed Wheeler as the agency's deputy administrator in April.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has resigned, according to a tweet from President Donald Trump.

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