Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Acting Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler will be nominated to permanently lead the agency, President Donald Trump said on Friday.
Trump made the announcement during a White House ceremony for seven Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. The nomination requires Senate approval.
"He's done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him," Trump said.
Wheeler has been the acting EPA leader since Scott Pruitt, Trump's initial choice, resigned in July amid accusations of ethics violations. Wheeler was the EPA deputy administrator for three months prior to Pruitt's departure, but conservative legislators in Washington urged Trump to choose him as Pruitt's replacement.
Wheeler, formerly a coal company lobbyist, is regarded as a longtime Washington insider, CNBC reported on Friday.
As EPA acting chief, Wheeler's voice and profile have been lower than Pruitt's, but he has pursued the same deregulatory agenda. He has overseen proposals to roll back or repeal limits on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, car fuel efficiency standards and oil and gas drillers' methane pollution limits. Environmental groups have accused Wheeler of prioritizing the interests of the coal and oil industries at the expense of public health, The Hill reported.
As acting administrator, Wheeler has continued the Trump administration's campaign to roll back energy and environmental regulations established during the Obama administration.