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Trump picks coal industry lobbyist for EPA deputy role — drawing mixed reaction

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President Donald Trump on Thursday named Andrew Wheeler, a coal industry lobbyist and former congressional staffer, as his pick for deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, prompting contrasting reactions from industry and environmental groups.

The Sierra Club, an environmental group, called his nomination, which is subject to Senate confirmation, “absolutely horrifying,” while a coal industry group and some Republican politicians said he was well qualified for the job.

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The EPA said in a statement Wheeler had spent four years at the agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics during the George H. W. Bush and Clinton administrations, as well as many years on Capitol Hill, including as counsel for conservative Republican Senator James Inhofe.

It said he currently works as a principal at FaegreBD Consulting, “providing guidance on federal regulatory and legislative environmental and energy issues.”

Inhofe said in the statement that no one is more qualified than Wheeler to help EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “restore EPA to its proper size and scope.”

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an industry lobby group, called Wheeler extraordinarily qualified for the job, saying in a statement: “His understanding of a wide range of environmental policies and the policy development process — combined with his thoughtfulness, judgment and temperament — will enable him to be an outstanding Deputy Administrator.”

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But the Sierra Club called his nomination “absolutely horrifying,” adding in a statement: “Andrew Wheeler is a big time lobbyist who has represented Big Coal for almost a decade, including in numerous lawsuits challenging the EPA. He is a friend to polluters, not to American families that rely on clean air and clean water.”

Pruitt led 14 lawsuits against the agency when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general, and has said he is not convinced that carbon dioxide from human activity is the main driver of climate change, a position widely embraced by scientists.

He was appointed by President Donald Trump, a climate change doubter, who campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation.

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He also promised to pull Washington out of a global pact to fight climate change, which he did in June.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘He’s empty’: Psychiatrist warns Trump is in a ‘psychotic-like state’

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Dr. Lance Dodes warned that things were going to get worse under President Donald Trump in 2017. That's precisely what happened.

"Is that what we're seeing this week?" MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell ased the psychiatrist.

"Absolutely. Donald Trump, because he has a fundamental need to be all-powerful and all loved, can't stand challenges," Dr. Dodes said. "And the nature of democracy is that it challenges people. We have more than one opinion. So the more -- it was predictable once he got into a position where people would challenge him, there are two parties, he would become more unhinged.

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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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I think Trump’s people sit around ‘thinking up new ways to be cruel’: Senator

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On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) tore into the Trump administration for its treatment of migrant children, as yet more reports come in of children being denied basic services in squalid conditions, and as Trump considers ways to get around the federal consent decree placing limits on how long they can be detained.

"We already know from so many child specialists that detaining children in these kinds of facilities does irreparable damage to them," said Hirono. "There are alternatives to family detention this administration could care less about ... the only way to get around the consent agreement is by getting around it by proposing or having this rule, which will be immediately challenged. They want to detain families indefinitely, children indefinitely, held in situations that do them absolutely no good when there are alternatives."

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