March 15, 2022 News & Press Releases

Governor Youngkin Re-Appoints Trump Crony, Andrew Wheeler, After Being Rejected By General Assembly

by Democratic Party of Virginia

Governor Youngkin shows Virginians there's nothing he wouldn’t do for his far-right friends

Richmond, VA – Yesterday, a new report by The Virginia Mercury found that Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist and Trump crony, was appointed by Governor Youngkin as a senior adviser to his administration after the General Assembly voted to reject Wheeler’s nomination for Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. In his latest step to implement his anti-environment agenda, Governor Youngkin has shown Virginians today there's nothing he won’t do, including sidestepping the Legislature, to appease his far-right allies.

Virginia Democrats sent a clear message to Governor Youngkin when they rejected Andrew Wheeler's nomination – that they will not budge when it comes to protecting our environment and combating the effects of climate change. Wheeler has shown that he does not represent the best interests of Virginians and will further damage our environment, economy, and our commonwealth. 

“The General Assembly made clear that Andrew Wheeler's anti-environment agenda was not welcome in Virginia when they rejected his appointment,” said Chairwoman Susan Swecker. “Now Governor Youngkin has doubled down on his dangerous agenda and sidestepped the legislature to re-appoint Wheeler – who is a danger to Virginia and will hurt our economy, kill clean-energy jobs, and decimate our environment – just as he did in the Trump Administration. 

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 back 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