President Trump announced on Friday that he intends to nominate former industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as the Environmental Protection Agency’s next administrator. Trump made the spontaneous announcement during a Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House, saying Wheeler did a “fantastic job” as the agency’s acting administrator throughout recent months, when he took over in early July – after Scott Pruitt resigned amid ethics scandals.
“I will try to work to implement the president’s agenda,” Wheeler told The Post shortly after he took the helm at EPA this summer. “I don’t think the overall agenda is going to change that much, because we’re implementing what the president has laid out for the agency.”
In the following months after taking over the reins, Wheeler continued to advance Trump’s agenda, proposing new rules to loosen carbon limits on power plants. The Washington Post adds he also proposed to relax fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. These proposals, in addition to moves to change the way the agency calculates the health benefits of new air pollution standards, are creating criticism from environmental and public health groups.
On the other hand, an Environmental Protection Agency official, who was appointed by the Trump administration, was arrested on Thursday for multiple criminal ethics violations.
Onis Trey Glenn, 47, was reportedly charged with crimes linked to a scheme that took place when he worked as a lobbyist for the Drummond Company. Glenn assisted the coal mining firm during his employment in avoiding a bill for an EPA-mandated cleanup of neighborhoods in Birmingham and Tarrant, Alabama, that were purportedly contaminated by emissions from smokestacks owned by a subsidiary, AL.com reported.
Glenn was booked into a Jefferson County jail in Birmingham, according to The Associated Press, before he was granted release on a $30,000 bond. Charges he received include receiving money and soliciting something of value from a “principal, lobbyist or subordinate,” per AL.com.
Details regarding the amount of money received or what exactly was solicitated is scarce, however, state ethics laws prohibit officials from using their office as a means for financial gains and soliciting money or other things of value.
Glenn continued to communicate with Alabama environmental official even after he began working as an EPA administrator, according to records obtained by the Project on Government Oversight and Mother Jones magazine, in regard to the cleanup site.
Glen denied all charges in a statement provided via a lawyer, while the EPA refused to comment. “The charges against me are totally unfounded,” Glenn stated. “I am innocent and expect to be fully vindicated.”