Trump expected to pick coal lobbyist as EPA deputy

Politico reports: President Donald Trump is expected to tap Andrew Wheeler, a coal lobbyist and former aide to Sen. Jim Inhofe, to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, sources familiar with the hiring process told POLITICO.

Sources cautioned that the decision has not yet been finalized, but they said Wheeler is expected to get the job. It’s unclear when Trump will make the announcement, but one source said it could be weeks before Wheeler is officially tapped.

Wheeler worked as an EPA staffer earlier in his career. He later joined Inhofe’s Senate office and then spent more than a decade as a Republican staffer on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he worked on several major pieces of legislation, including the 2005 and 2007 energy bills.

He has worked at the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels since 2009. He now co-leads the firm’s energy and natural resources practice.

Wheeler is a registered lobbyist for Murray Energy, the nation’s largest privately owned coal company, which regularly filed lawsuits against the Obama administration over its environmental regulations.

As a lobbyist, Wheeler may need to obtain a waiver to serve at the EPA.

Trump signed an executive order in January that bars registered lobbyists from participating in “any particular matter” on which they lobbied in the past two years. Those lobbying restrictions last for two years from the time the person joins the administration. [Continue reading…]

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