Feb 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Virginia Senate panel rejects ex-Trump EPA chief for Youngkin’s Cabinet

Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A Virginia state Senate panel voted 9-6 along party lines Tuesday to block former Trump EPA head Andrew Wheeler from joining Gov. Glenn Youngkin's Cabinet as secretary of natural resources.

State of play: The majority-Democratic Privileges and Elections Committee voted to remove Wheeler's name from a resolution to approve Youngkin's cabinet picks. But Republicans could still approve Wheeler's nomination with the support of at least one Democrat in the full Senate.

  • Between the lines: At least one Democrat, state Sen. Joe Morrissey, told Courthouse News he would be open to voting in favor of Wheeler.

The backdrop: Wheeler rolled back many of the regulations intended to address climate change during his tenure as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator.

  • He also expressed doubts about mainstream climate science findings, dismissing the National Climate Assessment, which the EPA contributed to, as too reliant on "worst-case scenarios."
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