Senate confirms Wheeler as EPA deputy

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018

The Senate yesterday confirmed former Senate aide and energy lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to become EPA deputy administrator. The vote was 53-45.

Wheeler will become the agency’s No. 2 as revelations of ethical wrongdoing continue to plague Administrator Scott Pruitt. If Pruitt were to leave, Wheeler could take over in an acting capacity.

Every Republican present voted for Wheeler, along with moderate Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

And Maine’s Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who opposed Pruitt, decided to back Wheeler. She expressed more confidence in him than his future boss.

Democrats used their debate time to not only question Wheeler’s qualifications but also pan Pruitt for his job leading the agency.

The Senate minority, however, did not stall Wheeler as once expected. This afternoon’s vote came on the heels of a procedural roll call this morning.