WASHINGTON — Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist who has led the Environmental Protection Agency since his scandal-plagued predecessor resigned earlier this year, got President Donald Trump’s nod Friday for the permanent job.
Trump made the announcement almost in passing at a White House ceremony for Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees.
Singling out Cabinet members in the audience at the ceremony, Trump got to Wheeler, “acting administrator, who I will tell you is going to be made permanent.”
“He’s done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him, EPA, Andrew Wheeler. Where’s Andrew?” Trump continued. “Congratulations, Andrew, great job, great job, thank you very much.”
Wheeler has served as the EPA’s acting head since July, when then-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid ethics scandals.
A former lobbyist for coal and other industries, Wheeler has a reputation as a methodical steward of the Trump administration’s deregulatory mission.
Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate 53-45 as the agency’s deputy administrator last April.