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Youngkin taps Wheeler to run new Office of Regulatory Management

Andrew Wheeler speaking to EPA staff, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at EPA Headquarters in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin
Andrew Wheeler speaking to EPA staff, Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at EPA Headquarters in Washington.

Governor Glenn Youngkin is creating a new office aimed at reducing regulatory requirements in Virginia. He’s tapped a controversial figure to lead it.

The newly-created Office of Regulatory Management has a goal: reduce regulatory requirements by 25%. The governor has tapped former EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to oversee the effort.

"There are other efforts across the country at the federal level to cut the number of regulations, and that's kind of arbitrary," Wheeler says. "What we're focused on is going to be reducing the number of regulatory requirements."

He says the idea of reducing regulatory “requirements” rather than reducing regulations came from a pilot project lawmakers created during the Northam administration.

"We looked at the results of the pilot, and the results of the pilot – one agency reduced their's 27% and the other 14%," he adds. "So, obviously just those two agencies alone were overburdening people."

Earlier this year, Senate Democrats rejected Wheeler's nomination to be Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources. Now, he says, he's looking forward to bringing his experience to this new office.

"The regulatory side is something that I’ve worked on my entire career," Wheeler says. "I spent 14 years working in the United States Senate, and one of the first things I started doing back in 95 or 96 was working on regulatory reform."

Some departments might not need a 25% reduction. But, Wheeler says having a goal is necessary to take a hard look at the regulatory burden in Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.