GOP-Led Senate Poised to Make Ex-Coal Lobbyist EPA’s No. 2

By MICHAEL BIESECKER and MATTHEW DALY

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans are moving to confirm a former coal industry lobbyist as the second highest ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

A Senate vote could come Thursday on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to serve as EPA’s deputy administrator. The vote comes amid calls by Democrats and a few Republicans for President Donald Trump to replace EPA chief Scott Pruitt, whose tenure has been threatened by damaging ethics disclosures.

If confirmed, Wheeler would be next in line if Pruitt resigns or is fired.

Staff for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Wednesday he would vote for Wheeler, likely ensuring his confirmation.

Wheeler worked last year as a registered lobbyist with a client list that included Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies.

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