Press Release | February 9, 2022

SELC statement on Senate vote to reject Wheeler for Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Virginia Senate voted Tuesday to reject Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s secretary of natural and historic resources nominee Andrew Wheeler, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration.

In response to the vote, Sarah Francisco, director of SELC’s Virginia Office, released the following statement:

“The Senate made the right call in voting to reject Mr. Wheeler’s nomination as secretary of natural and historic resources. SELC is a non-partisan organization with a long history of working with officials across the political spectrum, and we are eager to work with all those who want to secure clean air, clean water, and a thriving, healthy future for all Virginians. 

“Mr. Wheeler’s track record, however, is one of gutting environmental protections and jeopardizing natural resources and public health. Former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency who served under Mr. Wheeler paint a distressing picture in their unprecedented letter to members of Virginia’s Senate, describing steps Mr. Wheeler took to hamstring the very agency he led. From his proposal while at the EPA to slash clean water and clean air funding to Virginia by 44 percent, to the staggering 90 percent cut in funding he proposed for the Chesapeake Bay, it is clear that Mr. Wheeler would pose a significant risk to the welfare of the Commonwealth’s residents and environment — the very environment the secretary of natural resources is sworn to conserve. 

“The Senate was right to refuse Mr. Wheeler the opportunity to drive the Commonwealth down a path contrary to the values all Virginians share. We look forward to working with a secretary of natural and historic resources who has proven to be a steward of all that the office is charged with protecting.”

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