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>> Now how does it happen that the nominee to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency does not mention the words climate change?>> Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday grilled President Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, branding the former energy lobbyist a pro-business extremist.>> Do you agree with the scientific community that climate change is a global crisis?
>> I would not call it the greatest crisis, no, sir.>> Energy correspondent Valerie Volcovici.>> Democrats were calling for more stringent regulations, for more regulations. And Wheeler's agenda is focused on kind of relieving some of the burden on industry.>> Wheeler's nomination has pleased business groups and many Republicans.
>> Acting Administrator Wheeler is very well qualified.>> But angered environmental advocates, some of whom interrupted Wheeler's confirmation hearing.>> This man wants to deregulate, this is an outrage.>> The EPA's acting chief since last July, Wheeler defended his record so far at the agency. Largely defined by his moves to undo or weaken Obama-era environmental regulations.
>> Through our regulatory reforms, the Trump administration is proving that burdensome federal regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress.>> Wheeler also repeated an unsupported statement by Trump that deadly wildfires in California were due to poor forest management, not due to climate change as scientists say. Democrats also pressed Wheeler on his past lobbying work for coal giant Murray Energy.
>> He tried to downplay that aspect of his career and said that he's worked with ethics officials at EPA to make sure there won't be any conflicts of interest.>> And Wheeler couldn't quit shake the legacy of the last EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who resigned in scandal last year over his extravagant spending.
>> Mr Wheeler is certainly not the ethically bereft embarrassment that Scott Pruitt proved to be. I had hoped that he would moderate some of Scott Pruitt's most environmentally destructive policies. Regrettably, my hopes have not been realized.>> The hearing's adjourned.>> Despite the controversy, Wheeler faces strong odds of being confirmed in the Republican-controlled Senate.