Commentary

Meet the new EPA boss. Same as the old boss.

Andrew Wheeler

The thoroughly execrable Scott Pruitt is finally out at the Environmental Protection Agency. The tweeter-in-chief announced the departure of his scandal-plagued agency head yesterday. Unfortunately, as is often the case when it comes to blowhards like Pruitt who finally end their dreadful leadership tenures, it may well be that an equally dreadful, but more effective, successor comes next.

This is from an AP story:

“The new leader of the Environmental Protection Agency is a former coal industry lobbyist who helped lead an industry fight against regulations that protect Americans’ health and address climate change.

Andrew Wheeler, the No. 2 official at EPA, will take over the agency Monday now that President Donald Trump has accepted the resignation of embattled administrator Scott Pruitt.

The Senate confirmed Wheeler as the agency’s deputy administrator in April.

Trump tweeted that he has ‘no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!’

Wheeler, 53, could serve more than a year in an acting role. A Senate vote would be required if he is nominated to lead the agency permanently.

Republicans say Wheeler is well-qualified to lead the EPA, having worked at the agency early in his career. He also was a top aide at the Senate Environment Committee before becoming a lobbyist nine years ago.

Democrats and environmental groups decried Wheeler as a coal apologist and former top aide to a GOP senator who rejects mainstream climate science.”

And here’s the especially worrisome part:

“Like Pruitt, Wheeler is a conservative who will seek to roll back rules governing clean air and water and fighting against climate change.

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.

Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general, is often aligned with the oil and gas industry, while Wheeler has focused more on coal since becoming a lobbyist a decade ago….

Until his nomination by Trump last fall, Wheeler worked as a lobbyist with a client list that included Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies. 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.”

Meanwhile, speaking of the Great Prevaricator and coal, all caring and thinking people will be heartened by the little zinger he uttered Tuesday at a West Virginia veterans’ dinner. This is from a story at Think Progress:

“Speaking at a charity dinner for veterans in West Virginia Tuesday evening, President Trump said coal is the best source of energy for national security because it can survive a bomb.

‘You know, you bomb a pipeline, that’s the end of the pipeline. With coal, that stuff is indestructible,’ Trump said to applause and laughter.

‘You can move it around on a truck, you can dump it at the plant, you can do whatever the hell — you can rain on top of it for a long time. Right Jim?,’ Trump continued, addressing Gov. Jim Justice (WV-R), a coal mining tycoon. ‘It can rain like crazy. You can do whatever you want — snow, sleet, wind. You just dump it. It’s there. You hit those pipelines, they’re gone, and that’s the end of it.’

‘So for national security purposes,’ Trump said, ‘I don’t think people talk about it enough — coal.’”

 

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