Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Acting EPA Chief Pledges 'Change of Tone' in Communications

Acting EPA Chief Pledges 'Change of Tone' in Communications

Mr. Trump tweeted that he has "no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda". "But you're not going to see the EPA, at least under my direction, make up a lot as we go along".

"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency", Trump tweeted. That included the roughly 20 members of a security detail Pruitt's EPA had created to guard him around the clock.

Pruitt had become a constant source of embarrassment to a president who had entered Washington promising to "Drain the Swamp".

Inspector General's Office on Thursday to immediately launch an investigation into whether agency chief Scott Pruitt violated the Federal Records Act.

Senator Inhofe, who dismisses global warming as a hoax and famously tossed a snowball on the Senate floor to prove his point, hailed Wheeler's ascension to EPA chief.

In a recent interview, Wheeler told the Washington Examiner that he wasn't interested in the top job at the agency.

Pruitt tried to reverse efforts to cut emissions from coal plants, kill tougher fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles, and suspend stricter rules on runoff from farms - moves that elicited protests and, in several cases, legal challenges by environmentalists and some states.

But this less flashy style is unlikely to endear him to environmental groups that had been critical of Pruitt. It's still unclear. What we do know: His replacement, Andrew Wheeler, holds views similar to Pruitt's.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate environment panel, said that during Pruitt's tenure, the EPA "has rolled back punishing regulations that were hurting American workers and stifling our economy".

It's not just Wheeler's time in government that concerns environmental advocates.

Newly named acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is expected to stick to the Trump administration's business-friendly regulatory policy, but without the lavish spending and perceived secretive ways of the Pruitt era.

Before heading the EPA, he spent years attacking the agency.

Murray Energy's CEO, Robert Murray, has been a loyal supporter of Trump.

NBC News" website headlined its story, "Wheeler won't be any better for environment, green groups say", with a subhead that read, "The Environmental Working Group deemed Pruitt "the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history'". Wheeler's other clients ranged from companies providing coal, gas and nuclear energy to a mix of clients in the auto and food industries. Notably, NRDC brought up Wheeler's previous job as legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Inhofe expressed his support for his former staffer on Thursday, calling Wheeler "the flawless choice" to serve as acting EPA administrator. He said he hadn't had any contact with Wheeler since he took the EPA job, and called Pruitt's departure "unfortunate for America".

"Directly following the 2016 election, I voluntarily stopped any advocacy activity with EPA under the anticipation that I might be considered for a position at the Agency", Wheeler added.

It's possible that Trump will decide to keep Wheeler on as EPA head, but his prospects might be hampered by anti-Trump social media posts that Wheeler made before the 2016 election.

"Not every Republican agrees ... that climate change is a hoax", he said.

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