Andrew Wheeler confirmed as the nation's 15th EPA administrator

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces that new coal plants no longer have to meet planned tougher Obama era emissions standards during a news conference at the EPA Headquarters in Washington Thursday Dec. 6 2018

Senate Confirms Andrew Wheeler as EPA Administrator AP

The U.S. Senate is poised on Thursday to confirm President Donald Trump's candidate, a former coal lobbyist, to lead the nation's top environmental regulator, a nomination that has infuriated conservation groups and Democrats.

"Throughout his career, Andrew Wheeler has shown a clear disregard for the EPA's mission to protect the public and environment", Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said after voting against him.

BREAKING: We respond to the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler by the Senate to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Mr. Wheeler knows first-hand the impact EPA policies have on America's economy from his previous work in the private sector and as chief of staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee".

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Hayden accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans of putting "the wealth of a few over the health of the many by confirming the coal industry's favored Wheeler-dealer to what used to be the leading environmental enforcement post in the federal government".

Collins said Wheeler's efforts to roll back standards on emissions blamed for climate change takes the country in the wrong direction.

Indiana Senator Todd Young said, "Mr. Wheeler has demonstrated an ability to find reasonable solutions to hard environmental issues".

"There is no doubt that the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change pose a significant threat" to ME and the nation, Collins said, adding that pollution from coal-fired power plants threatens Maine's natural resources, "from our working forests, fishing and agricultural industries, to tourism and recreation".

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Democrats used the vote as an opportunity to call for greater action on climate change, with more than six senators speaking to a almost empty chamber about why the federal government should press for steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The planet has already warmed more than 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels.

✅Weakening requirements that protect communities from accidents at chemical plants. Recently he unveiled a toothless "action plan" that fails utterly to address the nationwide crisis of drinking water contaminated with PFAS chemicals, fluorinated compounds linked to cancer, thyroid disease and weakened childhood immunity. Last week, he broke off negotiations with California over a national vehicle fuel economy standard, setting the administration up for a lengthy legal fight with the Golden State, which is allowed under the Clean Air Act to set its own pollution limits.

Environmental groups reacted to Thursday's confirmation much as they did when Wheeler took the reins as deputy administrator.

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"Wheeler wants to turn the EPA into a wish-granting service for polluters, no matter the cost to public health or wildlife. But it's only a matter of time before his dirty dealings land him in the same trash heap as his predecessor", said Emily Knobbe, EPA policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based environmental group.

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