February 11, 2019

Andrew Wheeler: Nominee for EPA Administrator


  • Andrew Wheeler has worked in the environmental field for 25 years.
  • He served as a career employee at EPA under Republican and Democratic presidents and for 12 years on the Environment and Public Works Committee in the Senate.
  • Wheeler has served as acting administrator of the EPA since July 2018 and has shown himself to be a prudent executor of administration policy.

Andrew Wheeler’s professional experience and current work as acting administrator of the EPA makes him an ideal nominee to fill the office of administrator on a permanent basis. He started his environmental career working at EPA in a non-political job. As a career employee, he received bronze medals for service in 1993 and 1994, the third highest honor award given by the agency.

Wheeler has worked in Congress for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which underscores his ability to work with the legislative branch. He served as staff director and chief counsel for the EPW Committee from 2003 to 2009 and as staff director for an EPW subcommittee from 1997 to 2003. Beginning in 2009, he worked as head of the energy and environment team at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting and as co-chair of the energy and natural resources industry team at the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

Wheeler Quote Graphic

On April 12, 2018, Wheeler was confirmed to be deputy administrator of the EPA. Three Democrats voted to confirm, and no Republicans voted against confirmation. At that time, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, the Public Lands Council, the United Mine Workers of America, and several other organizations endorsed his nomination.

Overseeing Major Administration Initiatives

As acting administrator since July 2018, Andrew Wheeler has overseen two of the administration’s most significant rulemakings. First, EPA proposed the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which would establish carbon dioxide emission guidelines for states to use in regulating existing coal-fired power plants. That rule would replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Currently, the ACE rule is in a notice-and-comment period before being finalized and put into effect.

Second, under Wheeler’s leadership EPA has proposed a clearer and simpler definition of “waters of the United States.” The new definition establishes when the federal government may regulate waters under the Clean Water Act. It would replace the definition issued by the Obama administration in 2015. The notice-and-comment period on the proposed replacement rule is expected to begin this week.

Issue Tag: Environment