Senate panel votes down Wheeler nomination; fight not over

Feb 1, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm
Former EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who has been nominated by Gov. Youngkin to be the Secretar...

Former EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who has been nominated by Gov. Youngkin to be the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, testifies before the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources at the Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Democrat-controlled committee in the Virginia Senate voted Tuesday against including former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler in the new Republican governor’s Cabinet, though the move is likely not the final say on the matter.

On a 9-6 party-line vote, the committee stripped Wheeler — Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s pick for secretary of natural and historic resources — from a resolution approving the governor’s other Cabinet appointees. The panel then advanced the resolution, taking no issue with anyone else.

Wheeler’s appointment could ultimately prevail if any Democrat on the narrowly divided Senate floor joined with Republicans to add his name back to the resolution.

At least one Democrat, Joe Morrissey, has previously indicated he is open to backing Wheeler. Morrissey was not a member of the panel that voted Tuesday, and he didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

The nomination of Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who led the EPA during the administration of former President Donald Trump and oversaw rollbacks of environmental protections implemented under former President Barack Obama’s administration, sparked an immediate backlash from conservation groups. Former EPA workers and a union representing current agency staff have both urged lawmakers to vote against Wheeler, while some former colleagues of Wheeler’s also weighed in, supporting him.

The Democratic Party of Virginia noted that the rejection of a Cabinet secretary by lawmakers is a rarity that last happened in 2006.

“Today, Democrats delivered another huge blow to Governor Youngkin and his efforts to implement his dangerous agenda by taking the first steps to reject his far-right, Trump-selected Cabinet nominee for Secretary of Natural Resources,” said party spokesperson Gianni Snidle.

Macaulay Porter, a Youngkin spokesperson, said the governor was “disappointed that the committee put partisan politics over the selection of a highly qualified individual who would prioritize cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and James River.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock campaigns on Sept. 2, 2022, in Atlanta with other members of historica...
Associated Press

In Georgia, how sports explain a political battleground

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — The reception area of a metro Atlanta office suite is a veritable museum of Herschel Walker’s football success for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the NFL. The office is part of the Atlanta Braves’ real estate development in the Major League Baseball franchise’s new suburban home. This headquarters for Georgia’s […]
9 hours ago
Sterling Sheffield, an assistant professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the Univers...
Associated Press

FDA change ushers in cheaper, easier-to-get hearing aids

It’s now a lot easier — and cheaper — for many hard-of-hearing Americans to get help. Hearing aids can now be sold without a prescription from a specialist. Over-the-counter, or OTC, hearing aids started hitting the market in October at prices that can be thousands of dollars lower than prescription hearing aids. About 30 million […]
9 hours ago
FILE - Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, ...
Associated Press

Supreme Court weighs ‘most important case’ on democracy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case, a Republican-led challenge asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where […]
9 hours ago
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, an image captured off a screen at the Jiuquan Satelli...
Associated Press

3 Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 6-month mission

BEIJING (AP) — Three Chinese astronauts landed in a northern desert on Sunday after six months working to complete construction of the Tiangong station, a symbol of the country’s ambitious space program, state TV reported. A capsule carrying commander Chen Dong and astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe touched down at a landing site in […]
9 hours ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
Associated Press

No OPEC+ oil shakeup as Russian price cap stirs uncertainty

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The Saudi-led OPEC oil cartel and allied producers including Russia did not change their targets for shipping oil to the global economy amid uncertainty about the impact of new Western sanctions against Russia that could take significant amounts of oil off the market. The decision at a meeting of oil ministers […]
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Vandalism suspected in North Carolina power outage

MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina believe vandalism may have caused a power outage that affected thousands of customers Saturday night. A mass power outage in several communities beginning just after 7 p.m. Saturday “is being investigated as a criminal occurrence,” the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. “As […]
9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Senate panel votes down Wheeler nomination; fight not over