Youngkin’s Choice of Andrew Wheeler as VA Secretary of Natural & Historic Resources is Huge Step Backward

Nomination of Trump’s Former EPA Chief Should be Rejected by VA General Assembly    

Today, according to early media reports, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will select anti-environmental radical Andrew Wheeler as Virginia’s new Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. Wheeler served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Donald Trump and is a former coal industry lobbyist. Wheeler’s time at EPA was disastrous for the environment and the fight against global climate change.

At EPA, Wheeler pushed to reduce the use of scientific studies to develop the agency’s standards. He also rolled back Clean Water Act protections, rescinded the standing Clean Power Plan, and tried to weaken public protections around vehicle emissions, power plant pollution, and drinking water.  Overall, Wheeler’s policies represented a full-scale attack on EPA’s core mission of protecting the environment and preserving public health.

With this announcement, Governor-elect Youngkin has indicated that he is intent on making his first step on environmental issues a huge step backward. In response to this pick, CCAN Action Fund’s Virginia Director Kim Jemaine, issued the following statement: 

“Anyone with this record is simply not the right fit for Virginia. During his extensive career as a henchman for the coal industry and the Trump administration, Wheeler has made it clear that he is willing to risk the health and safety of Virginians in order to serve the interests of bad actors. We should take this record at face value. 

The climate crisis is real and threatens Virginians from the Eastern Shore to Roanoke. Over the next four years, sea levels will continue to rise, temperatures will continue to increase, and natural disasters will threaten communities at a greater frequency. Our only option for a path forward is continued action to rapidly reduce emissions and preserve our environment. Andrew Wheeler is not up to the task.

We urge members of the Virginia General Assembly to prioritize the health and well-being of their constituents and the environment and reject this nomination.”