While most people like to place all of the blame for the recent about-face that the US Environmental Protection Agency has done with regard to pollutions controls on President Donald Trump, the reality is that there’s a broad amount of support for such actions throughout the government.
With that in mind, the US Senate has (as of Thursday) confirmed the former coal lobbyist and senate aide Andrew Wheeler as deputy at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The margin for the vote to confirm was pretty substantial, with the tally reading 53 to 45 for confirmation — so there’s no doubt really that Wheeler has a lot of support … among Republicans in Congress.
That being the case, President Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator is clearly not an outlier, but rather a sign of a much broader attempt to roll back earlier EPA policies.
To emphasize, the American public don’t want to be polluted and don’t want lobbyists running organizations like the EPA, but the vast majority of them will never see this news or have any real clue what Scott Pruitt and other Republican appointees are doing at the Environmental Protection Agency.
While Wheeler perhaps won’t attempt to push through a “spectacle at the coliseum” style TV climate “debate,” as Pruitt has, it seems likely he will do most of whatever his former lobbying contacts ask him to do. And since he worked for coal industry firms for a long time…
Reuters provides some more background on this all: “Wheeler was a chief of staff to Republican Senator James Inhofe, who rejects mainstream climate science, for more than 12 years. Wheeler will come to the EPA as Republican and Democratic lawmakers are investigating allegations that Scott Pruitt, the agency’s administrator, acted unethically on expensive air travel, a condominium lease, and in arranging raises for close aides.”
While it’s possible that Pruitt ends up being removed at some point as EPA administrator, that certainly wouldn’t entail an end to the policies now being pushed through. Pruitt is essentially just a face and a lighting rod.