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Senate Confirms Former Coal Lobbyist to EPA’s No. 2 Job

  • Andrew Wheeler would lead EPA if Pruitt were to leave agency
  • Wheeler criticized for helping roll back EPA regulations
Andrew Wheeler during his confirmation hearing in 2017.

Andrew Wheeler during his confirmation hearing in 2017.

Photographer: Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

A former lobbyist for one of the largest U.S. coal mining companies won confirmation to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s No. 2 official, putting him in position to take over the agency, at least temporarily, if embattled Administrator Scott Pruitt were to leave.

Andrew Wheeler, a former Republican Senate staffer whose client list at lobbying firm Faegre Baker Daniels LLP included coal company Murray Energy Corp., uranium explorer Energy Fuel Resources Inc., and utility giant Xcel Energy Inc., was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday to be EPA’s deputy administrator by a vote of 53 to 45.