The Senate on Thursday confirmed former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in a 52 to 47 vote, largely along party lines.
The addition to President Trump’s cabinet of Wheeler, who has served as acting EPA administrator since former chief Scott Pruitt resigned last July amid a slew of ethics investigations, has been in the works since November, when the president formally nominated him to the post.
“The Senate has taken decisive action to confirm Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the [EPA],” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., tweeted. “As acting administrator of [the EPA], he has prioritized commonsense policies that protect our air & water, while allowing our economy to grow.”
Wheeler’s nomination – and his time as acting EPA administrator – has not been without controversy as many Democrats and environmental activists have criticized him for his close ties to the coal industry and for his push to deregulate a number of environmental rules and safeguards implemented by the Obama administration.
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