by Countable | 2.22.19
(Updated 2/28/19) - The Senate voted 52-47 on Thursday to confirm Andrew Wheeler as EPA Administrator.
The Senate is expected to consider the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) soon. Here’s what you need to know about the nominee.
Wheeler, 54, was nominated in the fall of 2017 to serve as Deputy EPA Administrator and confirmed to that position in April 2018. He became the Acting EPA Administrator following the resignation of Scott Pruitt on July 9, 2018.
Wheeler first worked at the EPA from 1991 to 1995 in an office specializing in toxic chemical, pollution prevention, and right-to-know issues. He then worked for two years in the office of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) before working for the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee from 1997-2009. After leaving his role as a congressional staffer, Wheeler worked as an energy and natural resources lobbyist until he was confirmed as deputy EPA administrator.
Wheeler’s nomination has drawn opposition from some environmental groups, such as the Environmental Defense Fund which wrote:
“Mr. Wheeler’s leadership at EPA would be a continuation of the dangerous approach forged by his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, the first EPA Administrator whose nomination EDF ever opposed. Andrew Wheeler becomes the second… Our country needs an EPA Administrator guided by science, who respects our environmental laws and values public health.”
The Environment & Public Works Committee advanced Wheeler’s nomination to lead the EPA on a party-line 11-10 vote. When the Senate voted to confirm him as deputy EPA administrator in 2018 three Democrats voted in favor, of whom only Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is currently in office, while he received the support of all Republicans.
EPA’s chief mission is to protect human health and the environment. It develops and enforces regulations to partner with congressional laws concerning the environment, endangered species, and hazardous waste. The agency makes grants available to state environmental programs, nonprofits, and educational institutions for projects ranging from scientific studies to waterway cleanup to anti-pollution campaigns.
In addition, it studies such environmental issues as global climate change and energy conservation efforts. Its Washington, D.C., headquarters, 10 regional offices and 27 laboratories employ 15,376 people. The EPA’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year will total $8.8 billion.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: USDAgov via Flickr / Public Domain)
Written by Countable