The Senate has approved Andrew Wheeler as the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The former coal lobbyist was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 47. At his confirmation hearing in January, Wheeler talked about the dozens of rules that the EPA has rolled back over the past few years. He also made it explicitly clear to lawmakers that he intends to continue the Trump Administration’s reversal of environmental regulations.
“Through our deregulatory actions, the Trump Administration has proven that burdensome federal regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress,” Wheeler said at his confirmation hearing. “Certainty and the innovation that thrives in a climate of certainty are key to progress.” In addition to the rollbacks, Wheeler has also rolled out initiatives aimed at reducing lead exposures around the country.
Indiana Senator Todd Young said, “Mr. Wheeler has demonstrated an ability to find reasonable solutions to difficult environmental issues. I look forward to collaborating with Administrator Wheeler to put forward sound policies that not only protect Indiana’s environment but allow the Hoosier economy to flourish.”
Ethanol industry reaction was also positive. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor congratulated Wheeler on his confirmation. “As the head of EPA, Administrator Wheeler can improve our emissions regulations to encourage competition and innovation, and give American drivers access to affordable and renewable fuel choices,” she said. “That starts with following through on the president’s commitment to allow E15 sales year-round on June 1 or sooner. The previous administrator granted an unprecedented number of refinery exemptions under the RFS, destroying demand for billions of gallons of U.S. ethanol. Administrator Wheeler must work quickly to repair that damage to the rural economy and restore more than 2 billion gallons of lost biofuel demand.”
And Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Geoff Cooper added, “We congratulate Administrator Wheeler on his Senate confirmation. RFA looks forward to continuing to work with him to implement a strong Renewable Fuel Standard, make year-around E15 a reality and to repair the damage done as a result of the unprecedented number of small refiner waivers granted by his predecessor.”