"We need an EPA administrator - and I know this is a radical idea - that actually believes in environmental protection", Sanders said, "rather than just the profits of the oil, gas or coal industry".
While Pruitt arrived in Washington as part of President Trump's promised wave of outsiders hoping to shake up the Capital, Wheeler has spent years navigating the intricacies of environmental policy.
The move came late Friday, hours after Pruitt submitted his resignation following a series of ethical scandals. Wheeler is a career consultant, energy lobbyist and political aid. "Unlike Pruitt, Wheeler worked for the EPA early in his career and has played key roles in Congressional oversight of the agency and its budget, making him a formidable opponent with intimate knowledge of the agency's programs and regulations", the group said in the April blog post.
Wheeler worked under Inhofe for about a dozen years, according to The New York Times, and is among a growing number of former Inhofe staffers now employed by the EPA.
Although Pruitt has always been known for his high-profile appearances dating back to his successful run for Oklahoma attorney general, reports paint Wheeler as a quieter political actor.
Murray Energy's CEO, Robert Murray, has been a loyal supporter of Trump. The company paid Wheeler's firm at least $300,000 each year between 2009 and 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted praise of Wheeler, saying that he has "no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda".
He also oversaw large raises to favorite aides, reportedly against the express wishes of the White House. The recommendations include a 50 percent cut to the EPA staff, and US withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement-which Trump already initiated. "Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this". "There are many Republicans who understand that it is real, that it is an enormous issue".