Who Is Andrew Wheeler, Trump's New EPA Chief?

Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt

Pruitt moved to roll back environmental regulations affecting many industries.

A teacher at Sidwell Friends school confronted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday, telling him to resign, in the most recent of a series of public clashes between D.C. residents and Trump administration officials. The president tweeted that "Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this".

Pruitt's replacement, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal industry lobbyist with Faegre Baker Daniels who spent almost a decade trying to get Congress to pass industry friendly laws.

Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy for the group Common Cause, said Pruitt's questionable past was widely known.

Scott Pruitt resigned as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, and a top government watchdog released a simple but effective one-word statement on this development: "Good".

However, EPA spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said Pruitt thanked the woman for her comments. In a letter addressed to Donald Trump, Pruitt cited "unrelenting" and "unprecedented" attacks on him and his family.

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However, Kevin Chmielewski, who left earlier as Pruitt's deputy chief of staff, said agents in Pruitt's 20-member security detail and others linked to the ex-EPA head are fearful for their jobs. "This is the follow-up stories, the people's lives he's affected, going down to the agents and everyone else". James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who's a major climate change skeptic and who told CNN past year the EPA is "brainwashing our kids".

He also oversaw large raises to favorite aides, reportedly against the express wishes of the White House. James Inhofe (R-OK), including as chief counsel for the senator on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee. He worked in the EPA under former President George H.W. Bush, spent years as a senior aide in the Senate working to defeat climate-related legislation and most recently was a lobbyist with many clients in the coal industry.

As acting EPA head, "Andrew Wheeler is well prepared to continue the progress already made under President Trump", Barrasso added. He is now facing more than twelve federal investigations, including from the EPA's Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Pruitt was publicly asked to resign this week by a schoolteacher in a DC restaurant, an exchange that was videotaped and has been viewed over 500,000 times on Facebook.

The senator was also a supporter of Pruitt, according to the Times, and Wheeler's rise demonstrates the growing influence of a group of former Inhofe staff members across the Trump administration and Washington including Ryan Jackson, who is now the EPA's chief of staff.

"There's not a single person who doesn't think that will happen", Southerland said of the current EPA staffers she has talked to. She was referring to allegations that Pruitt ignored all but his own political appointees at the agency, and used his office for personal gain. According to his former biography on the state of Oklahoma's official website, Pruitt was a "leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda".

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