Senate confirms a coal lobbyist as Pruitt's number two

Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and climate change skeptic, is now the deputy administer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His confirmation came amid backlash from environmental groups and an escalating ethics crisis for Administrator Scott Pruitt. Like Pruitt, Wheeler has spent his career fighting the mission of the EPA (a Trump administration trend) by fiercely promoting the weakening of environmental and public health laws. One of Wheeler’s top energy clients, Robert Murray, is both a financial backer and advisor to President Trump. Murray reportedly sent a “wish list” of environmental rollbacks to Trump after his inauguration. Many in Washington, however, consider Wheeler to be more politically savvy than Pruitt and suspect he will be less prone to public controversy or tempted to pass too-hasty rollbacks. Scary to think, but Wheeler could, in effect, be more successful at carrying out the Trump administration's anti-environment agenda.

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