Democrats in the General Assembly are gritting their teeth in anticipation of a rare confirmation fight.
Their target? Secretary of natural resources nominee Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler previously served as the head of the EPA during the Trump administration.
As The Hill reports:
Although Republicans regained control of the state House of Delegates in November’s elections, Democrats retain a two-vote majority in the state Senate. Confirmation fights are uncommon in the legislature, but Wheeler’s record at the EPA has made him a lightning rod among environmental advocates.
At the EPA, Wheeler, a onetime coal lobbyist, loosened a number of environmental regulations, particularly those pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions, and sought to advance rules that placed limitations on the use of scientific studies that did not make all of their data public.
Despite receiving the endorsement of former President Trump, Youngkin largely kept him at arm’s length during the Virginia gubernatorial campaign even as his opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), sought to associate the two. In an interview Friday, Virginia state Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D) said the nomination of Wheeler sent the wrong message on that front.
“I would think that we would all be better served, especially the governor-elect, if we would put the Trump years behind us and start moving forward,” Lewis told The Hill. “And this just sends a very troubling message in the early days of [Youngkin’s] administration.”