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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler arrives at EPA headquarters. Photo by Ting Shen/R...

Trump to nominate Andrew Wheeler as permanent EPA head

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.”

READ MORE: Who is Andrew Wheeler, the acting EPA administrator?

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.