Andrew Wheeler, who has continued the environmental setbacks, is confirmed to lead E.P.A.


WASHINGTON – The Senate on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Andrew R. Wheeler as a director of the Environmental Protection Agency, which was monitoring the nation's air and water to a former coal lobbyist and an insider. Washington.

The confirmation formalized a role that Mr. Wheeler has held in the interim since the summer, when Trump's first director, Scott Pruitt, resigned following multiple ethics investigations.

The vote, 52-47, focused on political parties and highlighted partisan divisions prompted by the Trump Administration's continued commitment to repeal Mr. Wheeler's environmental regulations.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to vote against Wheeler.

"The policies that he has supported as an interim administrator are not in the interest of our environment and our public health, especially given the threat of climate change to our country," he said. said Senator Collins.

"Everyone was polite, it was a welcome change," she said. "But there was no difference in policy."

The White House announced last week that the E.P.A. and the Ministry of Transport had terminated negotiations with California on its clean air exemption. This decision indicates that the administration is about to finalize its rule to lower the exhaust emission standards that were put in place under President Barack Obama and will likely attempt to revoke the ability of the California to establish its own rules on pollution.

"I must say that I do not find it materially different from Scott Pruitt in his policy or mission," said Nichols. "The only difference is that he's more polite and more professional."

On climate change, Wheeler has also adopted a calibrated tone that contrasts with his policies.

Unlike Mr. Pruitt, who said on television that carbon dioxide was not a major factor in global warming and that rising temperatures could be beneficial to humanity, Mr. Wheeler said to a Senate confirmation panel in January that "climate change is real. its level of concern about climate change, on a scale of 1 to 10, 8 or 9.

But, two weeks he later named John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who said the Earth would benefit from more warming emissions from the planet, to an influential EPA Scientific Advisory Board.

And asked if he intended to work with Congress to end the ban on chlorpyrifos – an insecticide associated with developmental delays and cognitive impairment in children – that Mr. Pruitt , acting against the advice of its own experts in chemical safety, chose not to remove the use – Mr. Wheeler assured the legislator in a written statement that the agency was " determined to fully evaluate this pesticide using the best available scientific data. "

However, the organization under the leadership of Mr. Wheeler had already challenged a decision of the Court of Appeal of the ninth circuit ordering the minutes E.P.A. to ban the pesticide. This month, the court ruled in favor of the challenge and ordered a new hearing in the case.

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