Scott Pruitt, who has led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration, has resigned and deputy director, Andrew Wheeler, is expected to take his spot as acting director.
Continue Reading Below
Here are some things to know about Pruitt’s second-in-command, who needs Senate confirmation before he becomes the agency’s permanent leader.
Coal industry lobbyist
Wheeler is a former coal industry lobbyist who worked for Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting.
During his tenure there, Wheeler worked with mining giant Murray Energy and reportedly made $3.3 million from the partnership, according to The Daily Beast.
Murray Energy has also sued the EPA multiple times. Founder Bob Murray has been pushing President Trump to end the war on coal, recently telling FOX Business he supports Trump’s policies and those of Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
He also worked with uranium mining company Energy Fuels Resources Inc., where he helped persuade the administration to shrink Bear Ears National monument by 85%.
Capitol Hill resume
Wheeler spent four years at the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
He also worked as a staffer on Capitol Hill in different Senate committees and as general counsel to Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
Climate change skeptic
Like his predecessor, Wheeler is not a firm believer that burning fossil fuels is the main contributor to global warming.
“I believe that man has an impact on the climate, but what’s not completely understood is what the impact is,” Wheeler said during his confirmation hearing before lawmakers.
Sen. Inhofe, for whom Wheeler worked on Capitol Hill, is also an ardent denier of climate change.
Wheeler received his undergraduate degree at Case Western Reserve University and went on to earn his JD at Washington University and an MBA at George Mason University.