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Trump Nominates Coal Lobbyist for Number Two EPA Job

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Across the Ohio River from Powhatan Transportation Center—owned by Murray Energy—is a power plant servicing coal mines. Jessica Cheung/NPR

The White House announced Thursday that President Trump has officially nominated coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler for the deputy administrator position at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Before becoming a lobbyist in 2009, Wheeler served as a congressional aide to prominent climate-denying (and snowball-tossing) Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). While Politico reported on Wheeler's likely nomination in March, Wheeler remained registered as a lobbyist for coal company Murray Energy until mid-August.


Wheeler's nomination to the number two spot at EPA comes as the agency prepares to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

"In Andrew Wheeler, the President has tapped yet another fossil fuel industry lobbyist to help in the capture of the Environmental Protection Agency for big polluters,"Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said in a statement.

"He shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the office to which he's been nominated, but here we are."

"Halloween apparently came early this October because the nomination of Andrew Wheeler as Deputy EPA Administrator is absolutely horrifying," the Sierra Club said in a statement. "There actually could not have been a worse choice for this highly influential position that is charged with protecting the health and communities of Americans across the nation.

"Andrew Wheeler is a big time lobbyist who has represented Big Coal for almost a decade, including in numerous lawsuits challenging the EPA. He is a friend to polluters, not to American families that rely on clean air and clean water."

For a deeper dive:

New York Times, Reuters, The Hill, Politico Pro

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