New EPA head has long history of ties to mining interests

New EPA head has long history of ties to mining interests

News Type: Federal Source: High Country News
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Andrew Wheeler, a former coal and uranium mining lobbyist, has been named the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, after the abrupt resignation of Scott Pruitt. Pruitt announced his decision on Thursday, amid a series of ethics investigations into his improper use of taxpayer money and penchant for using employees to conduct personal errands.

Wheeler has made a career out of representing fossil fuel interests and rolling back environmental regulations. His relationships with senior officials from the Department of Interior and the Department of Energy, his lobbying background and deep ties to polluting industries have some people worried that his influence could extend beyond the parameters of the EPA.

“The extent to which Andrew Wheeler knows how all of these agencies work and did his best to influence all of these agencies prior to joining the EPA is a huge concern,” said Aaron Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities, a nonprofit focused on conservation and energy policy.