Senate Confirms Pro-Polluter Andrew Wheeler as EPA Chief

In his eight months as the agency’s acting administrator, Wheeler has already shown that he’s unwilling to protect the environment and public health.

Chris Kleponis/CNP/Alamy

In a 52–47 vote, the Senate confirmed former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler today as the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wheeler has served as acting administrator since July 2018, when his disgraced predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned amid a flurry of scandals. “When it comes to protecting public health, Andrew Wheeler’s record is abysmal,” says John Bowman, senior director of federal affairs at NRDC.

Since taking over the EPA, Wheeler has proposed rolling back numerous environmental and public health safeguards—like clean car standards, limits on air pollution from coal-fired power plants, and the Clean Water Rule. He’s also ignored the increasing public calls for urgent climate action following the release of the recent IPCC report and the Fourth National Climate Assessment. “His actions worsened the air we breathe, jeopardized the water we drink, and increased our exposure to toxic chemicals,” says Bowman. “He disregarded science and the growing threats from climate change.”

Wheeler’s pro-polluter agenda predicts more of the same. “What he can expect from us, and many others,” Bowman says, “is a wall of opposition and legal challenges to stop this dangerous agenda.”

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