Trump's new EPA pick likely 'even better at' destroying EPA than Pruitt


Trump's first EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, was horrible for the environment. But experts say Pruitt's current replacement, Andrew Wheeler, could be even worse.

Outgoing, outlandishly corrupt EPA chief Scott Pruitt is being replaced with Andrew Wheeler, who by all accounts is set to continue the Trump administration's anti-environment mission as acting chief — and maybe even best Pruitt.

The EPA was founded with the mission of acting as a watchdog over industry to safeguard the environment.

But under Trump, the agency has worked at the behest of massive polluters to weaken regulation and decrease oversight.

Reporting on the multiple scandals involving Pruitt — including using staffers as his personal lackeys — eventually created enough negative headlines that Pruitt resigned.

But Wheeler's pedigree as a pollution apologist sets him up to outdo even Pruitt.

Wheeler served as a lobbyist on behalf of the coal industry and pushed for loosened regulations for those companies.

He was chief of staff to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the most famous climate change denier in Congress.

The National Resources Defense Council blasted Wheeler's rise.

In a statement, the environmental organization explained, "This veteran coal lobbyist has shown only disdain for the EPA’s vital mission to protect Americans’ health and our environment."

Kristin Mink, the mother and teacher who publicly confronted Pruitt on his corruption days before his resignation, noted in an interview with Democracy Now that Wheeler's role will allow the anti-environment cause to advance without attracting scrutiny like Pruitt.

She told the outlet that Pruitt "was appointed to dismantle the EPA from the inside," and that Wheeler "is likely to be possibly even better at that, because Scott Pruitt was not well liked, and Andy Wheeler is. He’s a Washington insider. He knows a lot of people. He already has wielded a lot of influence there. He has friends."

Trump infamously pushed the conspiracy theory that climate change is a Chinese hoax. With people like Pruitt it became clear that he would continue the Republican tradition of department heads tasked with dismantling the agencies they run.

Wheeler's past shows someone just as willing as Pruitt to dismantle environmental protections for big business.

So far, he does not have the open corruption on the record that Pruitt did. But that simply gives him operating space to continue the Trump mission of making the planet less habitable.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.