February 1, 2022 News & Press Releases

Another Setback for Governor Youngkin: Virginia Senate Democrats on the Privileges and Elections Committee Takes First Step to Reject the Appointment of Former Trump EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Richmond, VA —In yet another blow to Gov. Youngkin’s first few weeks in office, Senate Democrats on the Privileges and Elections Committee today took the first step toward rejecting Governor Youngkin’s nominee for Secretary of Natural Resources, Donald Trump’s Former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. 

The last time a Governor's cabinet nominee was rejected by the Virginia General Assembly was in 2006. The rarity of such an event underscores the grave danger Wheeler poses to the future of the Commonwealth. Just like his first two weeks in office, it’s clear that Governor Youngkin and his administration are woefully unprepared to handle the next four weeks of the legislative session, let alone the next four years of governance. 

“Today, Democrats delivered another huge blow to Governor Youngkin and his efforts to implement his dangerous agenda by taking the first steps to reject his far-right, Trump-selected cabinet nominee for Secretary of Natural Resources,” said DPVA spokesperson Gianni Snidle. “Virginia Democrats have reassured Virginians of their commitment to protecting the environment, fighting climate change, and ensuring a far-right crony like Andrew Wheeler won’t roll back the progress Democrats have made.”

In case you forgot, here are Andrew Wheeler’s top 10 greatest hits from his time as EPA administrator:

  1. Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. sued Wheeler’s EPA due to violating the Clean Water Act to enforce pollution reduction limits
  2. As head of EPA, Wheeler routinely side-lined scientists
  3. As a coal lobbyist prior to joining the EPA, Wheeler took in millions of dollars from coal companies to lobby against common sense air and water safeguards—and carried out their agenda at EPA
  4. Wheeler said that climate change is “not the greatest crisis.”
  5. Undertook 50 major rolled backs and decimated EPA protections
  6. Was a critic of limiting greenhouse gas emissions and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  7. Worked to make it harder for the EPA to impose new regulations by limiting scientific studies that the agency used when writing new pollution restrictions
  8. Was criticized by 150 bipartisan former EPA staffers who signed a letter describing him as an extremist that, “methodically weakening EPA’s ability to protect public health and the environment, instead favoring polluters.”
  9. His first major rule as head of the EPA granted the coal industry its own control of cleaning up toxic coal ash by scrapping standards put in place to protect human health and safety
  10. The Washington Post found that Wheeler ‘liked’ a blatantly racist meme about the Obamas on Facebook