William Wehrum, an industry lawyer and lobbyist, has represented companies who regularly filed legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air regulations. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump nominated him to head the office at the EPA responsible for ensuring Americans have clean air.
Senate Republicans agreed with the Trump administration that Wehrum was the right person for the job. On a party-line vote of 49 to 47, the Senate approved Wehrum on Thursday to lead the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. However, what happens when cases involving Wehrum’s former industry clients come before the agency remains to be seen.
Wehrum “has an astounding number of conflicts of interest given that he has regularly represented industry in their efforts to undermine clean air standards,” the Sierra Club said in response to his nomination.
At the law firm of Hunton & Williams, Wehrum’s clients included the American Petroleum Institute (API), the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Chemistry Council, and the National Association of Manufacturers. Each of these trade associations filed litigation against the EPA under President …