President Trump recently announced his nomination of energy industry attorney William Wehrum to the position of EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. Wehrum is currently head of the administrative law group and a partner at the Richmond, Virginia-based firm Hunton & Williams LP. The president’s nomination of Wehrum’s immediately came under fire by environmentalists and Democrats, who say he would weaken regulations and enforcement.
“In recent years, his client roster has included heavyweights, like the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute, that regularly challenge EPA actions,” E&E News reported.
Wehrum graduated from Purdue University with a degree in chemical engineering and received his JD from Widener University. He has over 25 years of experience in environmental regulation, his professional bio states.
If confirmed, Wehrum would have a wide range of responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, The Hill points out. Under President George W. Bush, Wehrum served as acting air administrator, but his nomination for the post in 2006 was successfully blocked by Democrats led by Senator Barbara Boxer of California. She criticized his record at the time, saying that he had “a pattern of discounting health impacts and ignoring scientific findings, and substituting industry positions for the clear intent of Congress.”
The Democrats, now in the minority, plan to fight Wehrum’s nomination, according to The Hill. Since 2006, the Senate rules changed so that nominations can be confirmed by a simple majority, E&E News noted.