U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday that she will oppose the confirmation of Andrew Wheeler, President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Collins says Andrew Wheeler’s policy views aren’t in the best interest of public health.

“While Mr. Wheeler is certainly qualified for this position, I have too many concerns with the actions he has taken during his tenure as Acting Administrator to be able to support his promotion,” Collins said in a statement. “I believe that Mr. Wheeler, unlike (former EPA administrator) Scott Pruitt, understands the mission of the EPA and acts in accordance with ethical standards; however, the policies he has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation.”

Collins had voted for Wheeler last year when he was nominated to be deputy EPA administrator. However, after meeting with him at length recently and expressing her concern over EPA proposals to roll back some environmental protections, she concluded she couldn’t support him any longer.

“These efforts are of great importance to the state of Maine, which is located at the end of our nation’s ‘air pollution tailpipe’ and is on the receiving end of pollution generated by coal-fired power plants in other states,” she said. “Moreover, there is no doubt that the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change pose a significant threat to our state’s economy and our natural resources, from our working forests, fishing, and agricultural industries, to tourism and recreation.”

Collins also voted in 2017 against Pruitt, who resigned last year amid a series of ethics scandals. Prior to leading the EPA, Pruitt served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, during which time he sued the agency numerous times because of various regulations.

The Senate could vote this week on Wheeler’s nomination. It’s not yet clear whether other Republican senators will join Collins.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:


Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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