April 13, 2018

Whitehouse Denounces Confirmation of Wheeler for EPA Deputy

‘A fossil fuel flunky and a coal baron lobbyist are a dangerous duo to lead the EPA’

Washington, DC – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement on the confirmation of coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today:

“A fossil fuel flunky and a coal baron lobbyist are a dangerous duo to lead the EPA.  Like his boss Administrator Scott Pruitt, Andrew Wheeler spent years fighting against the EPA’s environmental protections.  When coal magnate Bob Murray bear-hugged a Trump cabinet secretary after delivering his policy to-do list for the administration, Mr. Wheeler was the lobbyist looking on.  Wheeler’s job was helping Murray tear down vital health and safety protections for the American people, like the clean air rules that shield Rhode Islanders from out-of-state air pollution and ozone.

“The EPA needs ethical leadership dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the American people.  Pruitt does whatever his fossil fuel overlords like; Mr. Wheeler’s main qualification is knowing which levers to pull to give polluters maximum benefit.  So much for ‘drain the swamp.’”

In November, Whitehouse pressed Wheeler during his confirmation hearing for a list of coal magnate Robert Murray’s policy priorities, which Murray presented to President Trump and top cabinet officials upon entering office.  Murray bragged of giving the “action plan” to Trump in the Frontline document “War on the EPA,” which aired last fall.  In January, Whitehouse obtained a version of the Murray plan that had been presented to Energy Secretary Rick Perry during a meeting last spring – a meeting Wheeler attended as Murray’s lobbyist.  The Trump administration has taken action on the majority of the items on Murray’s list.

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