On Jan. 24, a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee spokesperson confirmed a confirmation vote will be held on February 5 for Acting-EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who President Trump nominated on Jan. 9 to head the agency. Wheeler has served as Acting Administrator since July 2018, when then-Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. Wheeler needs confirmation by the full Senate to be elevated to the Administrator position.

On Jan. 16, the EPW Committee held a confirmation hearing for Wheeler.  Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Chair of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, made these complimentary remarks at the hearing and praising several actions taken by  Wheeler including efforts he has led to issue “common-sense regulatory proposals like the Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the revised definition of the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule,” and has vowed to work with committee members to vet the former coal lobbyist. 

Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), while noting Wheeler’s ability to work with both sides of the aisle, as well as the fact that he is not ethically-challenged, pointed out several concerns he has in his opening statement including “forgotten promises,” such as removal of legal underpinnings of the Mercury and Air Toxics standards and striking a deal between automobile makers and the state of California on fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. 

Wheeler was narrowly confirmed for his current job as EPA’s Deputy Administrator last April, amid complaints from Democrats and environmentalists that his former job as a coal lobbyist could pose conflicts at the agency.  Wheeler has again vowed to steer clear of decisions affecting former clients.

Click here to watch an archived webcast of the hearing. 

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This Week in Washington is an online news portal from the Water Environment Federation that provides updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments that affect the water and wastewater communities. It provides concise reports of related bills, regulations, legal decisions, congressional hearings, and other federal government actions, following key issues from introduction to final determination.

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
Senior Director of Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships

Steve Dye
Legislative Director

Amy Kathman
Government Affairs Specialist