Ex-EPA leader Wheeler to serve as adviser to Youngkin

Mar 14, 2022, 1:20 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Andrew Wheeler, the former Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency administrator, will serve as a senior adviser to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration after Senate Democrats rejected his appointment to a Cabinet role.

Wheeler had been nominated to oversee environmental and other policy issues as secretary of natural and historic resources. Travis Voyles, previously the deputy secretary of natural and historic resources, will serve as acting secretary while Wheeler takes on the advisory role, Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said.

She didn’t immediately respond to questions about the scope of Wheeler’s new position or how long he intends to stay on.

In Virginia, the governor’s cabinet nominees are subject to confirmation by the part-time and currently divided General Assembly, though lawmakers rarely reject nominees. This year, Democrats who narrowly control the state Senate united against Wheeler as he faced criticism from environmental groups and some ex-EPA employees for an EPA tenure criticized as overly deferential to corporate interests. In February, the Senate voted along party lines to reject his appointment.

Youngkin repeatedly said he hoped Democrats would reconsider. But earlier this month, legislators gave final approval to all Cabinet members but Wheeler.

Lawmakers adjourned their regular session Saturday but are expected to return to Richmond soon for a special session to deal with unfinished business, including the state budget.

While legislators were meeting, the partisan fight over Wheeler’s nomination spiraled into a broader back-and-forth over other appointments and confirmations. The GOP-controlled House effectively removed a nominee of former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam from the power State Corporation Commission by letting her appointment expire and booted 11 other Northam nominees from other boards and commissions.

The Senate then retaliated by removing four Youngkin parole board members.

Lawmakers left town before any resolution was reached on those or other vacancies, including two spots on the Supreme Court of Virginia. It was not immediately clear how soon the governor would call lawmakers back for the special session or how the sparring over the appointments would end.

Voyles, the acting secretary, most recently served as oversight counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works under Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

“In this role, he served as the lead coordinator of the Committee’s efforts for environmental, energy, economic development, and infrastructure issues, including primary oversight over a wide range of federal agencies programs and funding,” according to a biography provided by the governor’s office.

Voyles, who holds a law degree, also served in multiple appointed roles at the EPA, the biography said.

The last time a governor’s cabinet appointee was rejected, in 2006, then-Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, took the same approach as Youngkin. He appointed Daniel LeBlanc, a former president of the state AFL-CIO, to serve as a senior workforce adviser.

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

AP

Hiring sign is displayed in Deerfield, Ill., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. The number of Americans fil...
Associated Press

More Americans apply for jobless benefits last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the labor market remains strong even in the face of persistent inflation and a slowing overall U.S. economy. Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 1 rose by 29,000 to 219,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Last week’s number was revised down by […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Cherelle Griner, wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner, speaks during a news conference in Chica...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner at ‘weakest moment’ in Russia, her wife says

WASHINGTON (AP) — WNBA star Brittney Griner is at her “absolute weakest moment in life right now” as she faces a hearing in Russia later this month for her appeal of a nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, Griner’s wife said in an interview aired Thursday. Cherelle Griner told CBS “This Morning” that her wife, […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Turkey appoints new ambassador to Israel as ties warm

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has appointed a new ambassador to Israel, the state-run news agency reported Thursday, in the latest step between the two countries’ efforts toward normalizing ties. Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, a senior diplomat who had served as Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem between 2010 and 2013, was named to the post, Anadolu […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Sheriff: Dogs attack family in Tennessee, 2 children killed

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two young children were killed and their mother was hospitalized after two family dogs attacked them at their home in Tennessee, officials said. The dogs attacked a 2-year-old girl, a 5-month-old boy and their mother Wednesday afternoon in the home located north of Memphis near Shelby Forest State Park, the Shelby […]
6 hours ago
Traders gather around a post as Twitter shares resume trading on the floor at the New York Stock Ex...
Associated Press

Hot inflation slows 3Q earnings growth forecasts

Wall Street expects the latest round of quarterly profits to show burn marks from the hottest inflation in four decades, and the damage could linger into 2023. Analysts have been trimming their forecasts, especially in the retail and communications sectors, as inflation drives up costs and saps consumer spending on everything from food to clothing. […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

To fill teacher jobs, community colleges offer new degrees

In her second-grade classroom outside Seattle, Fatima Nuñez Ardon often tells her students stories about everyday people realizing their dreams. One day, for example, she talked about Salvadoran American NASA astronaut Francisco Rubio and his journey to the International Space Station. Another day, she told them her own life story — how she, an El […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Ex-EPA leader Wheeler to serve as adviser to Youngkin