U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler at his confirmation hearing this morning. Wheeler has been nominated by President Trump to serve officially as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Inhofe applauded the president’s intent to nominate Wheeler in November of 2018.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to introduce my friend Andrew Wheeler and I’m honored he allowed me to do that. I’m very excited about the prospects of taking his temporary job into a permanent job.
Back when President Trump nominated Andrew as Deputy Administrator, I said that there was no one more qualified. Now that he has been Acting Administrator for the past 6 months, Andrew’s ability to lead the agency has never been clearer.
After earning a law degree at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, Andy joined the EPA as a Special Assistant in the agency’s Pollution Prevention and Toxics office in 1991.
He was an EPA employee for 4 years, transitioning to the George H. W. Bush Administration and then to the Clinton Administration and earning 3 Bronze Medals for Commendable Service along the way.
For those who don’t know, a Bronze Medal is given for “significant service or achievements in support of the Agency’s mission or for demonstration of outstanding accomplishments in supervision and leadership.”
When Andrew left the Agency, he brought that sense of service and leadership with him to the U.S. Senate where I had a front row seat to his high quality of character and witnessed the dedication he brings to every job and issue.
Andy started in my personal office as Chief Counsel, transitioned to staff director for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, Wetlands, and Nuclear Safety, of which I was Chairman.
In 2003, when I became chair of this committee, Andy became Chief Counsel. Over the next 6 years, he would eventually become staff director, and we worked closely together on highway bills, energy bills, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, the Clear Skies Act, and many other pieces of legislation.
Since leaving the U.S. Senate in 2009, Andy has continued to build on his reputation as a leader in energy and environmental policy and brought this vast wealth of knowledge and expertise on environmental issues to the EPA.
The Senate confirmed him as Deputy Administrator in April of last year on a bipartisan basis and he became Acting Administrator in early July.
I was lucky enough to attend his welcome speech to the employees of the Agency and saw a man who respected the Agency and the work that the career staffers do – after all, he was one of them once.
He knows what it takes to ensure that our environment is cared for within the laws passed by Congress, he will ensure that all stakeholders are heard, and he will provide certainty and stability for the regulated community.
Andy has worked on these issues for his entire 28-year career, I am honored that he chose to spend half of that time with me and I believe the US Senate benefited from his leadership and I know America will as well.
He’s done a great job. I am looking forward to working with him in a new capacity I haven’t experienced before.