by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Erin Dunne explains for the Washington Examiner why no one should expect left-of-center attacks on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to diminish with the resignation of controversial administrator Scott Pruitt.
Now Pruitt is out and Andrew Wheeler, his (at least) temporary replacement, will be a more difficult target for the Left, and they will hate him even more.
This new, more formidable foe has a long history as a Washington insider and is well versed in doing things by the book. After more than 20 years in Washington, including time spent at the EPA under President George H.W. Bush and as a coal company lobbyist, Wheeler built a reputation for denying humans as the cause of climate change and as an ally of the fossil fuel industry — which even earned him the Onion headline: “EPA Promotes Pulsating Black Sludge to Deputy Director.” Wheeler appeared to take it all in stride, however, which will likely just infuriate the Left even more.
Like Pruitt, Wheeler will continue to pursue Trump’s deregulatory agenda and will be no friend to environmentalists. Indeed, he has built his experience challenging federal environmental regulations and was the former chief of staff to Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, a prominent Republican skeptic of mainstream scientific worries about man-made climate change.
Wheeler, with his vast experience and ability to stay out of the spotlight will likely be even more effective at pursuing Trump’s policies — which is sure to draw more scorn from the Left but generate far less attention.