WASHINGTON — The new acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is a former coal and energy lobbyist who has expressed skepticism about the human impact on climate change.
President Donald Trump on Thursday named Andrew Wheeler as acting administrator after accepting the resignation of Scott Pruitt, who left amid a series of allegations over ethics and spending. “I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda,” Trump tweeted. “We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!”
Read: President announces resignation of Scott Pruitt
Wheeler’s elevation from deputy administrator, which was sharply criticized by environmental groups, isn’t likely to bring big changes in policy at the EPA. Pruitt sought to roll back a number of Obama-era regulations, including water and air rules that affect energy producers, farmers and auto makers, among many others.
Federal lobbying records show Wheeler has represented a number of energy companies, including Xcel Energy Inc. XEL, +0.74% , Energy Fuels Resources Inc. and Murray Energy Corp., a coal producer that waged many legal battles against the EPA under former President Barack Obama. The company’s CEO, Bob Murray, was a top backer of Trump during the 2016 election.
Wheeler, asked at his confirmation hearing about the relationship between human activity and temperature changes on the planet, said: “I believe man has an impact on the climate but what is not completely understood is what the impact is.”
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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