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Environmental Protection Agency deputy administrator Andrew Wheeler will assume duties as the acting administrator on Monday in the wake of Scott Pruitt's resignation as agency chief, according to President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday.
Wheeler, who joined the EPA as the agency's number two in April, has been a subject of controversy connected to his past as a strong ally of the coal and energy industry.
Wheeler - Principal - Faegre - Baker - Daniels
Most recently, Wheeler was a principal at Faegre Baker Daniels consulting firm, where he represented several fossil fuel clients, including Murray Energy, federal lobbying disclosure reports show.
Murray Energy's CEO, Bob Murray, who has been photographed with Wheeler and Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry at a meeting, has been publicly denied the impact of climate change and has said that carbon dioxide, which the EPA lists as the primary greenhouse gas, is not a pollutant.
Wheeler - Murray - Energy - Company - Limits
While Wheeler was lobbying for Murray Energy, the company was fighting limits on mercury and other toxic power plant emissions in 2014 and in 2016. Murray sued to block the EPA from regulating mercury from power plants under its clean air act.
While at Faegre Baker Daniels, Wheeler served as the vice president of the Washington Coal Club.
Confirmation - Hearing - November - Wheeler - Lobbyist
In his confirmation hearing last November, Wheeler said he was no longer registered as a lobbyist for Murray as of August. He added that he would follow the recommendation of other EPA's ethics office in regards to recusing himself from matters at the EPA involving Murray Energy, including the company's pending lawsuit against the agency.
During the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations, according to an EPA press release, Wheeler worked at the EPA in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. He also worked as a general counsel for conservative Sen. James...
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