President Trump said he wants Andrew Wheeler, who currently serves as acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to become the agency's official leader, and will send Wheeler's name to the Senate for confirmation.
At the start of a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House on Friday, Trump pointed out several members of his administration who were in attendance, including Wheeler. Before introducing the interim head of the EPA, the president said Wheeler's post "is going to be made permanent. He's done a fantastic job, and I want to congratulate him."
Wheeler took the reins at EPA after Scott Pruitt resigned as administrator in July, following numerous allegations of abuses of power. Wheeler held a conciliatory meeting with the agency's employees days later. Wheeler said in September that EPA plans to keep all 10 of its regional offices open, but would realign its operations along similar lines to its headquarters in Washington, DC.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, tweeted Friday that if Trump "intends to nominate Wheeler to be EPA administrator, then he must come before the EPW Committee so that we can look at his record as acting administrator objectively to see if any improvements have been made at the agency since he took the helm."
The Senate confirmed Wheeler as Pruitt's deputy last April. A former lobbyist for the coal industry, Wheeler previously served as chief of staff for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), and worked at EPA during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.