Incoming EPA chief has coal ties

Pauline Gross
July 8, 2018

Now he will be at a very high-ranking position at the EPA, where he will be in a position to make lots of decisions that could benefit his former clients.

For his part, Trump didn't care about Pruitt's scandals as long as he was doing the bidding of industry, which is why it took so long for his tenure to end.

"There's never been more of a threat to liberty, you know, to what we know as the protections that are inherent in our Constitution than what we live today", Pruitt told CBN's Chief Political Correspondent David Brody.

After finally getting Pruitt's political scalp, the opposition party demanded more - ironically adopting Trump's own campaign rhetoric about the Washington establishment.

Inhofe, who dismisses global warming as a hoax and famously tossed a snowball on the Senate floor to prove his point, hailed Wheeler's ascension to EPA chief. And despite being able to roll back environmental regulations that were important to the president, Pruitt's long list of embarrassing scandals eventually caught up to him.

But this less flashy style is unlikely to endear him to environmental groups that had been critical of Pruitt.

"The great majority goes to effective fact-based research of quality journalists who exposed the depth of Scott Pruitt's corruption", she said.

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Andrew Wheeler, the man set to take over the Environmental Protection Agency after the departure of Administrator Scott Pruitt, is already receiving media criticism before he begins his job.

It's not just Wheeler's time in government that concerns environmental advocates.

Now EPA Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler will fill in while the president finds a new leader for the agency. The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 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.

While Pruitt was a Washington novice, Wheeler is a consummate inside-the-beltway lobbyist who has served many companies that are subject - and sometimes resistant - to EPA regulation. Jackson - a native Oklahoman - was an Inhofe aide who worked as EPW staff director and Inhofe's chief of staff. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who's a major climate change skeptic and who told CNN a year ago the EPA is "brainwashing our kids".

In a statement Thursday, the National Resources Defense Council criticized Wheeler's installation as acting EPA head, citing his background and pro-coal stance.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma state senator and two-term Republican attorney general, resigned suddenly Thursday amid ethics investigations, including ones examining his lavish spending on first-class airline seats and a $43,000 soundproof booth for making private phone calls.

Despite his conservative background and his likely continuance of Trump's EPA agenda, Wheeler has previously criticized the President. "He is a successful PR person, but not a businessman", he wrote on Facebook in February 2016. He called the then-candidate a "bully" and questioned his character, according to the Washington Post. He also said Trump showed he didn't understand how government works, was a bully and had "more baggage than all the other Republican candidates combined". Later, Mr Trump said Mr Pruitt chose to resign because he felt he was a distraction.

Other reports by GizPress

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