President Donald Trump’s newest pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency was confirmed Thursday even after Sen. Susan Collins announced her opposition to the former coal lobbyist.
EPA acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler was confirmed 52-47, ending several months of speculation about who will lead the agency following Scott Pruitt’s resignation. Trump’s first agency head resigned in 2018 following months of scandals related to his use of private jets.
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works called into question Wheeler’s use of political and career staff to help him prepare for his confirmation hearing in an effort to hold up his hearing. They thought his use of EPA officials violates the Antideficiency Act.
His confirmation received opposition from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and his Republican colleague, Collins of Maine. (RELATED: EPA’S Andrew Wheeler Will Soon Face The Toughest Congressional Hearing Of His Life)
“I believe that Mr. Wheeler, unlike Scott Pruitt, understand the mission of the EPA and acts in accordance with ethical standards; however, the policies he has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation,” Collins said in a press statement.
Manchin, for his part, dinged Wheeler for not doing enough to establish clean water regulations. “I voted against Andrew Wheeler to be @EPA Administrator b/c as Acting Admin. he hasn’t demonstrated a desire or will to make meaningful progress on clean drinking water standards & has rolled back clean air standards that are directly impacting WVians,” he wrote on Twitter.
Wheeler made overhauling a decades-old rule regulating levels of lead and copper in drinking water a pivotal part of the agency’s mission during the early part of his tenure as acting administrator. His plan was in-keeping with that of his predecessor’s mission of revamping the country’s lead rules.
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