WASHINGTON -- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday approved Bill Wehrum, by a narrow party-line vote, to be assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Regulation.
Wehrum, who was profiled last month in Automotive News, would have direct responsibility for the EPA's greenhouse gas emissions program for automobiles.
All 10 Democrats opposed Wehrum's nomination because of concern that he is too close to industry and taking a lax approach to regulating emissions while at EPA under the Bush administration.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the ranking Democrat on the committee, criticized Wehrum for "evasive" answers during his nomination hearing, adding that public health does not appear to be one of Mr. Wehrum's principle concerns.
"Whether the pollutant is carbon, mercury, silica or other toxic substances, Mr. Wehrum has continued to side with polluters over science and doctors almost every time," he said.
Wehrum's nomination now heads to the full Senate for a vote, although no date has been set yet.