Senate Committee Advances Coal Lobbyist to Serve at EPA

By MICHAEL BIESECKER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators used their majority to advance President Donald Trump’s nomination of a former coal-industry lobbyist to serve as the second-highest ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Environment and Public Works Committee voted along party lines 11-10 on Wednesday to send the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to the full Senate for a vote.

Before his nomination as EPA’s deputy administrator, Wheeler was a lobbyist whose clients included Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies.

Wheeler accompanied company CEO Bob Murray last year during meetings to lobby the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations affecting coal mines. Asked about the meetings during a November hearing before the Senate committee, Wheeler said he couldn’t remember details. The administration later carried out some of the recommended actions.

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