WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to confirm Andrew Wheeler as the next deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., among those who voted in favor.

The final roll call was 53-45.

Wheeler previously served as a coal lobbyist, including for Murray Energy, and was an advisor to Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a critic of climate change.

“Every West Virginian wants clean air and clean water and I intend to be vigilant in working with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that our fundamental environmental protections are implemented in a sound, fair and effective way,” Manchin said in a statement. “I believe that the economy and the environment can and must be balanced. After meeting with Andrew Wheeler, I believe that he will work with states like West Virginia, not against us.”

“Mr. Wheeler’s expertise and experience make him extraordinarily qualified for the position of EPA deputy administrator. He has gained a wealth of knowledge over the years working on environmental policy in the public and the private sectors, and I am confident that his experience will be a tremendous asset to the agency and to the American people,” Capito said in a statement.

“I was proud to vote to confirm Mr. Wheeler today and look forward to working with him at the EPA on issues that are important to West Virginia and the country,” she added.

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