Wheeler - who worked at the EPA in the early 1990s, dealing with toxic substances, public disclosure of environmental risks, and other issues - promised public transparency. Over the past 18 months, the EPA has made tremendous progress in ensuring that Americans have access to affordable and reliable energy.
During his confirmation hearing to be the EPA's deputy administrator, Wheeler was overshadowed by another Trump nominee, Kathleen Hartnett White - Wheeler's nomination was therefore under less scrutiny.
However, Brune calls Wheeler "a coal lobbyist dogged by ethical questions". Edward Markey (D) of MA.
His replacement, a former coal lobbyist who is likely to pursue the same regulatory rollback agenda as Pruitt, may not clean up the EPA's act and instead might find himself involved with "corporate cronyism", said Wegmann.
But unlike Pruitt, Wheeler is considered low-key and is a Washington insider who has spent much of his career in the nation's capital.
Samantha Dravis, Pruitt's former policy chief at EPA, told the investigators last week that Pruitt had made clear to her before and after he became EPA administrator that he would like the attorney general's job, held then and now by Jeff Sessions.
In his role as a Murray Energy lobbyist, Wheeler also attended a meeting with Energy Secretary Rick Perry in March 2017 where Robert Murray presented Perry with an action plan that would directly benefit his coal company.
Touting Wheeler as "the ideal choice to serve as acting administrator", Inhofe notes that the two worked together for 14 years.
The duration of Wheeler's tenure at the EPA is uncertain. He accompanied Murray CEO Bob Murray during a series of closed-door meetings to lobby the Trump administration to kill environmental regulations affecting coal mines. That included the roughly 20 members of a security detail Pruitt's EPA had created to guard him around the clock. Trump could also choose to nominate Wheeler himself, although he said last week that he wasn't gunning for the job.
No quotes in support of Wheeler were offered other than those by the president.
Pruitt "had hinted at that (sic) some sort of conversation had taken place between he and the president", Dravis told congressional investigators, according to a transcript obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. "Americans will not tolerate another EPA administrator whose primary goal is to fight the core mission of the EPA". With an "impeccable reputation" and "the experience to be a strong leader at the EPA", Wheeler - according to the senator - "will continue the important deregulatory work that Scott Pruitt started while being a good steward of the environment".
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The internet is collectively rejoicing now that Scott Pruitt has resigned as EPA head.