Andrew R. Wheeler

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Andrew R. Wheeler
Andrew Wheeler official photo.jpg
Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Assumed office
July 9, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byScott Pruitt
Deputy Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Assumed office
April 20, 2018
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRobert Perciasepe
Personal details
Born (1964-12-23) December 23, 1964 (age 53)[1]
Hamilton, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationCase Western Reserve University (BA)
Washington University (JD)
George Mason University (MBA)

Andrew R. Wheeler (born December 23, 1964) is an American lawyer, former lobbyist and since July 9, 2018 Acting Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[2] He previously worked in the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, representing coal magnate Robert E. Murray and lobbying against the Obama Administration's environmental regulations.[3] Wheeler served as chief counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and to the chairman U.S. Senator James Inhofe, prominent for his rejection of climate change.[4] Wheeler is a critic of limits on greenhouse gas emissions and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.[5]

In October 2017, Wheeler was nominated by President Donald Trump,[6] renominated in January 2018[7] and confirmed as Deputy Administrator of the EPA in April 2018.[8] On July 9, 2018, Wheeler became the Acting Administrator after the resignation of Scott Pruitt.[9] On November 16, 2018, President Trump announced he would nominate Wheeler to serve as the EPA's permanent administrator.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Wheeler was born in Hamilton, Ohio on December 23, 1964.[11] In 1987 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and biology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio[12] and a Juris Doctor from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 1990.[13] In 1998, he completed a Master of Business Administration at George Mason University.[11]


EPA, 1991–1995[edit]

Wheeler's first job between 1991 and 1995 was as special assistant to the Information Management Division Director in the Environmental Protection Agency´s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.[14][3] working on toxic chemical, pollution prevention, and right-to-know issues. Wheeler received the Agency's Bronze Medal in 1993 and twice in 1994.[15]

U.S. Senate staff, 1995-2009[edit]

From January 1995 until January 1997, Wheeler worked as Chief Counsel of Senator Jim Inhofe.[3] In 1997 Wheeler entered his first work in Congress as majority staff director at the US Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, Wetlands, and Nuclear Safety, which Inhofe chaired until 2001; thereafter he was minority staff director under Chairman George Voinovich from 2001-2003. From 2003-2009 he was chief counsel at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.[6] During this time, he generally sought to reduce government regulations on industries that generate greenhouse gases.[16] Senator James Inhofe was prominent for his rejection of climate change, and famously brought a snowball to the Senate as alleged proof that climate change was not real.[16][4]

During his time at the Senate, he was named by the National Journal as one of the Top Congressional Staff Leaders in 2005 and was a John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow in the 106th Congress.[15]

Lobbying, 2009-2018[edit]

Since 2009 Wheeler has been a lobbyist at the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels' energy and natural resources practice.[17] [18] Since 2009, he represented the coal producer Murray Energy,[19] privately owned by Robert E. Murray, a supporter of President Trump.[20] Murray Energy was Wheeler's best-paying client, paying more than $300,000 during the period 2009-2017.[4] Wheeler lobbied against the Obama administration's climate regulations for power plants and also sought to persuade the Energy Department to subsidize coal plants.[3] Wheeler set up a meeting between Murray and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in March 2017; at the meeting, Murray advocated for the rollback of environmental regulations and for protections for the coal industry.[4] [21]

EPA Deputy Administrator, 2018[edit]

In October 2017, Wheeler was nominated by President Donald Trump to become Deputy Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[6] His nomination was returned to the White House on January 3, 2018 as the Senate had adjourned at the end of 2017 without taking up the nomination (Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6.[7]). His nomination was resubmitted and he was confirmed as Deputy Administrator of the EPA on April 12, 2018, by a mostly party-line vote of 53–45, which included three Democratic Senators: Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly.[8][22]

Since being sworn in, Wheeler has had at least three meetings with former lobbying clients of his in a potential violation of the Trump administration's ethics pledge and the promises that Wheeler made during his confirmation hearing.[23]

EPA Acting Administrator, 2018[edit]

Scott Pruitt announced on July 5, 2018, he would be resigning effective July 6. He left Wheeler as the acting head of the agency.[9][24] Later, on November 16, 2018, Wheeler was nominated to be Administrator of the EPA, after being deputy administrator for five months.[25]

Asked in November 2018 to name three policies by the Trump administration that had contributed to cleaner air, Wheeler struggled to answer and two of his three answers were rollbacks of Obama administration policies intended to curb climate change.[26]

Environmental views[edit]

Wheeler publishes articles in the magazine Law360.[15] In 2010, he questioned the scientific rigor of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,[27] expressing his impression that the positions of the organization were based more on political worldview than scientific facts.[20] Asked if he accepted the scientific consensus on climate change during his confirmation hearings as Deputy Director of the EPA, Wheeler answered, "I believe that man has an impact on the climate but what's not completely understood is what the impact is."[16]

Wheeler is Chairman Emeritus of the National Energy Resources Organization.[28] He is Vice President of the Washington Coal Club.[15][29]


  1. ^ A brief guide to Andrew Wheeler, Scott Pruitt’s replacement at the EPA
  2. ^ U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "EPA's Deputy Administrator". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Wolff, Eric (May 5, 2018). "Pruitt's replacement 'should scare anyone who breathes'". Politico (updated July 5, 2018). Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Mufson, Steven (July 5, 2018). "Scott Pruitt's likely successor has long lobbying history on issues before the EPA". Washington Post. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  5. ^ Farrick, Ryan J. (July 26, 2017). "Trump Nominates Coal Industry Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler To Help Run EPA". Legal Reader. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Friedman, Lisa (October 5, 2017). "Trump Nominates a Coal Lobbyist to Be No. 2 at E.P.A." New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "PN1084 — Andrew Wheeler — Environmental Protection Agency (115th Congress, 2017-2018)". U.S. Senate. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Mufson, Steven; Dennis, Brady; Grandoni, Dino (April 12, 2018). "Senate confirms a former coal lobbyist as Scott Pruitt’s second-in-command at EPA". Washington Post. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Scott Pruitt resigns as EPA head, Boston Globe, July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  10. ^ "Trump Says He'll Nominate Andrew Wheeler to Head the E.P.A."
  11. ^ a b Friedman, Lisa (2008). The Almanac of the Unelected: Staff of the U.S. Congress 2008. Bernan Press. p. 614. ISBN 9781598882988.
  12. ^ "Case Western Reserve University Alumni Graduates of 1987". Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "Class Notes 1990" (PDF). Washington university law magazine. 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Friedman, Lisa (2008). The Almanac of the Unelected: Staff of the U.S. Congress. Bernan Press. p. 614. ISBN 978-1598881844.
  15. ^ a b c d "Andrew R. Wheeler". Faegre Baker Daniels. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c "Get To Know Andrew Wheeler, Ex-Coal Lobbyist With Inside Track To Lead EPA". Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Sources:Trump expected to tap Wheeler as EPA deputy". Politico. March 16, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  18. ^ Andrew Wheeler Linked in profile, retrieved 13 July 2018. Quote: "Andrew's unique position and broad expertise in domestic and international public policy has helped him develop a highly specialized view of how to execute effective advocacy programs before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch involving all aspects of energy and environmental policy.His knowledge and insider understanding of the Senate, House and various federal agencies allows Andrew to develop tailored, comprehensive strategies that assist clients in realizing their federal affairs goals and build lasting relationships with key policymakers."
  19. ^ "Trump to name coal lobbyist as deputy EPA chief: report". The Hill. March 16, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Trump to tap longtime coal lobbyist for EPA's No. 2 spot". The Washington Post. September 29, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  21. ^ Friedman, Lisa (October 5, 2017). "Trump Nominates a Coal Lobbyist to Be No. 2 at E.P.A." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  22. ^ Senate confirms a former coal lobbyist as Scott Pruitt's second-in-command at EPA, Washington Post, Steven Mufson, Brady Dennis & Dino Grandoni, April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "EPA: Despite his assurances, Wheeler met with former clients". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  24. ^ Timothy Cama, EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt, The Hill (July 15, 2018).
  25. ^ Ellen Knickmeyer, Trump says he'll name Andrew Wheeler Permanent Head of EPA, Associated Press (November 16, 2018).
  26. ^ Gregory Wallace. "Acting EPA administrator says administration deserves credit for decline in carbon emissions in wake of climate report". CNN. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  27. ^ "Reports: Trump to nominate coal lobbyist Wheeler to deputy EPA slot". UtilityDive. July 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  28. ^ "NERO Officers 2015 - 2016". National Energy Resources Organization. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  29. ^ "Coal Lobbyist Could Be Next EPA Deputy Administrator". EcoWatch. March 18, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Perciasepe
Deputy Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Preceded by
Scott Pruitt
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency