President Trump’s embattled chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, resigned Thursday. Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt’s former deputy administrator, an erstwhile Senate aide, and a former coal industry lobbyist, will act as the agency’s interim director, President Trump revealed via Twitter.
Who is Andrew Wheeler? No stranger to the EPA, where he worked for nearly two decades, Wheeler has also served as an advisor to Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a fierce critic of climate protection policy.
Wheeler also worked as an energy sector lobbyist, perhaps most notably for Murray Energy Company, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies, according to The Washington Post. Wheeler is currently listed as a consulting principal at international law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, and he has lobbied for Whirlpool, Sargento, and a number of other chemical and big oil interests, according to records compiled by ProPublica. The non-profit news organization notes that during his tenure on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, “[Wheeler] worked on every major piece of environmental and energy-related legislation before Congress for over a decade.”
The new EPA administrator’s other affiliations include serving as the vice president of the Washington Coal Club, an organization made up of 300 coal producers, lawmakers, and energy industry executives, according to environmental policy non-profit the National Resources Defense Council.
Like President Trump, Wheeler is active on Twitter, although he has not tweeted since the news of his appointment was announced.