Skip to comments.Senate confirms Wheeler to lead EPA
Posted on 02/28/2019 10:25:35 AM PST by jazusamo
The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a 52-47 mostly party-line vote.
Every Democrat voted against Wheeler, while Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was the only Republican to vote against him.
Collins in a statement Wednesday said she would not vote for Wheeler, a former energy lobbyist, because of his track record backing policies that weaken rules protecting are pollution and lowering car emissions.
While Mr. Wheeler is certainly qualified for this position, I have too many concerns with the actions he has taken during his tenure as Acting Administrator to be able to support his promotion, said Collins, who had backed confirming Wheeler last year to be EPAs deputy administrator.
Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), the only Democrat who voted to confirm Wheeler as EPAs deputy administrator, voted against him on Thursday. He cited Wheelers failure to make progress on clean drinking water standards, among other issues.
When I voted to confirm Mr. Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the EPA, I did so because I thought the President deserved to have his team in place. I also believed that I could work with Mr. Wheeler, Manchin said in a statement.
Today, I voted against him to be the permanent Administrator of the EPA because as Acting Administrator, he hasnt demonstrated a desire or a will to make any meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards and has rolled back clean air standards that are directly impacting West Virginians, both concerns that I have raised with him.
Wheeler has lead the EPA in an active capacity since former Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned on the heels of ethics controversies in July. He will be the agencys second leader under President Trump. Trump nominated Wheeler to take over the role of EPA administrator in early January.
At his confirmation hearing, Wheeler doubled down on the EPAs efforts under Trump to streamline environmental regulations, which in many instances meant dramatically re-writing, challenging and shrinking agency rules put in place under former President Obama.
Wheeler in his opening remarks highlighted 13 major deregulatory actions he had overseen in his six months heading the EPA on an acting basis, including proposals to roll back environmental regulations for power plants and vehicle emissions and protections for small waterways. He said it saved Americans roughly $1.8 billion in regulatory costs.
Democrats blasted Wheeler for continuing the Trump administrations deregulatory agenda, which included a dramatic drop in enforcement against polluters.
But several lawmakers credited Wheeler for a shift in tone from Pruitt.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) thanked Wheeler for his accessibility.
Its been a nice change to your predecessor, she said.
Pruitt who left the administration after a series of controversies, including his taking first-class flights on EPA business, his rental of a room in Washington at the price of $50 per night from the wife of an energy lobbyist and questionable international visits to the Vatican and Morocco.
Mr. Wheeler is certainly not the ethical bereft embarrassment that Scott Pruitt proved to be, said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Dela.).
This is Wheelers second stint at the EPA. He previously worked in the agencys Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics in the early 1990s where he twice earned the agencys bronze medal. Wheeler later worked for Sen. James Inhofe's (R-Okla.) congressional office and then as a lobbyist in the energy and natural resources sector for nearly a decade at law firm Faegre Baker Daniels.
Wheeler has come under criticism for continuing to hold meetings with various fossil fuel industry leaders, including some who his former company represented. A review of his public schedule conducted by CNN in February found that between last April and August, Wheeler attended more than 50 meetings with representatives of groups regulated by the EPA. In comparison, he met with three nonprofit environmental groups during that time.
Republicans cheered Wheelers confirmation.
During the last administration, the EPA issued punishing regulations that would hurt the economy and raise costs on families, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. Under Acting Administrator Wheelers leadership, the EPA has taken a different approach. The agency is now putting forward proposals that both protect our environment and allow the countrys economy to flourish.
The confirmation drew ire from Democrats and environmentalists.
Andrew Wheeler is going to be the architect of the Republican plan to make sure we dont do anything on this climate catastrophe, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) said during the Senates floor debate on Thursday. Markey is the lead sponsor of the Senates Green New Deal resolution that aims to jumpstart green energy jobs while getting the country running on complete renewable energy.
May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said casting a vote for Wheeler would green light the complete dismantling of EPAs regulatory power to the benefit of coal and oil lobbies.
Like his predecessor, Andrew Wheeler is deep in the pockets of oil and coal executives, evidenced by the dozens of meetings he has prioritized with industry representatives during his time as Acting EPA Administrator, she said.
Has he ordered up barrels of red ink yet?
susan collins blows.
Why doesn’t Thuthan Collinth just switch parties?
Will he be allowed to bankrupt entire industries like the previous administration?
I have a simple approach: if libs and Dems hate you, you are qualified.
With her vote on his, I guess Lisa Murcowshitz was pretending to be a Republican.
Hello Andy, this is Joe Manchin...(click...dial tone).
Yep if the Rats don’t want him he will be good for business.
Susan Collins is a rino
Lets wrap this Freepathon up, Folks!
If Collins doesn’t like him, he must be OK.
And he has the right enemies.
Why doesnt Thuthan Collinth just switch parties?
Had she done that, we would not have confirmed Kavanaugh. She is the most conservative Senator we will have from Maine for the foreseeable future. When she retires or is defeated, her Dem replacement will be much, much farther to the left.
On the bright side, when Susan Collins dies, the GOP wont miss her vote, since she consistently votes with the Democrats. What is the matter with people from Maine???
Collins is becoming USELESS to the GOP!
Ah yes, Collins, the Democrat with an R behind her name.
Eat it, Collins.
When she joins her "friends" on the RAT side they can claim "bipartisan" support.
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