Who Is Andrew Wheeler, Trump's New EPA Chief?

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Following the resignation of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt, Andrew Wheeler has been named as the agency's new acting chief.

US President Donald Trump accepted Pruitt's resignation and lauded his efforts.

Facing an array of ethical questions, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leaving the Trump administration, telling the president in a letter, "Unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us". In his tweet this afternoon, the president said, I have no doubt that Andy Wheeler will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. "We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!" he continued on Twitter.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general reported to have close ties to fossil fuel industries, had become the focus of multiple investigations in recent months, including by his own agency's inspector general, two other independent federal agencies and by Congress itself.

Speaking to Jim Sciutto on "The Lead with Jake Tapper", the independent Vermont senator said he is "vigorously opposed" to Wheeler as Pruitt's replacement.

Wheeler worked under Inhofe for about a dozen years, according to The New York Times, and is among a growing number of former Inhofe staffers now employed by the EPA.

Trump could nominate Wheeler to permanently succeed Pruitt, and the interim leader is considered a likely successor by the Washington Post. Before that he worked on Capitol Hill and, like Pruitt, he's a target for liberals who see him as a champion of polluters and climate change deniers.

In a hearing on his appointment as the agency's deputy administrator last November, Wheeler described himself as someone who "always tried to find common ground and work across the aisle" in Washington. And I think it will - it's in good hands with Andrew Wheeler. "I am still not interested in that". Coal giant Murray Energy Corporation is one of his previous clients.

By contrast, it offered several critical quotes from a former Democratic Party staffer on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, a few from the managing director for government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council and one from Sen.

Activists have argued those cuts have endangered the environment.

"I'll just say this: I wouldn't lose any sleep if EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt would be let go by the president, or resigned", said Young.

On the policy front, Pruitt's brief tenure - 17 months - did much to improve the national economy and better address true environmental concerns.

After heaping praise on Pruitt, President Trump announced that Wheeler-already deputy administrator at the EPA since April-would be his successor.

That contrasts with how many people viewed Pruitt, who was widely thought to be trying to use EPA as a stepping stool to reach higher political office.

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