Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Lawmakers confirmed Andrew Wheeler as the official administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised Wheeler on the Senate floor before the vote.
"Mr. Wheeler has proven his ability to advance pragmatic solutions to pressing environmental challenges," McConnell said.
Collins said Wheeler was "certainly qualified for this position," but some of his policy proposals were "not in the best interest of our environment and public health," considering the threat of climate change.
Trump nominated Wheeler for the permanent post in November after he served as acting administrator for months following Scott Pruitt's July resignation. Pruitt resigned amid accusations of lavish spending.
Senate Democrats have raised concern that Wheeler spent years lobbying against environmental regulations for the coal industry and may undo policies on climate change left in place from the Obama administration.
In addition to deregulation, Wheeler has also focused on cleaning up contaminated Superfund sites.
He also announced plans this month to regulate harmful chemicals found in drinking water, though Ansje Miller of the Center for Environmental Health criticized the plan as being too little, too late.