Coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is reportedly President Trump’s pick to be the deputy chief of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is expected to be tapped for the position in coming weeks.
Wheeler, who once served as an adviser to Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), is Trump’s top choice to fill the position, but it is unclear when the official announcement will be made, Politico reported Thursday.
Wheeler has experience working as an EPA staffer before working as a Republican staffer on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He now co-leads the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels’s energy and natural resources practice.
He is also a registered lobbyist for the nation’s largest privately owned coal company, Murray Energy, which challenged many of Obama’s environmental regulations in court.
The pick is in keeping with President Trump’s message on environmental policy and climate change so far. Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s head, has close ties to the oil and gas industry, as does his Secretary of State Exxon Mobil’s Rex Tillerson.
Trump’s proposed budget released Thursday would make major cuts to climate efforts.