Former coal lobbyist takes over EPA from embattled chief Pruitt

The new head of the EPA is a former Senate staffer who has worked behind the scenes to quash climate change legislation and promote coal.

Photo: /ritzau/AP/Martin Meissner/

Andrew Wheeler, 53, now the Environmental Protection Agency’s No. 2 official, will take over Monday as acting administrator following the resignation of Scott Pruitt. Wheeler could bring a quiet effectiveness to the top job that some environmentalists say they fear will make him a more formidable foe than Pruitt.

“There is no time for celebration. We need to keep up our intense vigilance because the Trump administration’s anti-environmental, anti-public health deregulatory agenda continues,” said Tom Pelton with the Environmental Integrity Project. Wheeler, he said, “has a background just as biased toward industry as Scott Pruitt, so we and other environmental advocates are going to have to watch Wheeler just as closely as we did his former boss.”

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