Trump considering coal lobbyist for EPA No. 2

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Story highlights

  • Andrew Wheeler is currently a principal with Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting
  • He was a former aide to Republican Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe

(CNN)President Donald Trump is considering coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency's No. 2 position, a source close to the deliberations said Friday.

Wheeler is currently a principal with Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting, and co-leader of the law firm's energy and natural resources practice. His online biography says he represents clients before Congress, the Department of Energy, the EPA and the Department of Transportation. The firm's clients include Murray Energy, which bills itself as "the largest coal mining company in America."
Prior to his lobbying work, Wheeler served on Capitol Hill as a Republican staff member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an aide to Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, an outspoken climate change skeptic who told CNN Thursday that the EPA is "brainwashing our kids."
    Wheeler declined to comment for this story.
    It's unknown when the President will finalize his decision on the appointment. If Wheeler joins the EPA, he will be just the latest appointee at the agency with close ties to the energy industry, including the agency's administrator, Scott Pruitt. The recent release of Pruitt's emails during his time as Oklahoma attorney general show the close relationship he and his aides had with the energy industry.
    CNN has reached out to the White House and EPA for comment.
    Politico was the first to report this story.