The US Environmental Protection Agency has a new deputy administrator, with former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler confirmed by the US Senate. The appointment is notable not only because of Mr Wheeler’s coal industry connections, but also because the current head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has recently been facing calls to resign over allegations about travel spending and staff pay rises. Mr Wheeler would become the new head of the EPA if Mr Pruitt was to leave. Regardless of if Mr Pruitt stays or leaves, the appointment of Mr Wheeler looks likely to mean a less stringent approach to the regulation of the US fossil fuel-fired energy sector. It comes as a new survey has found that the majority of people in the US believe the US government should take action to upgrade the ageing coal and nuclear fleet in the country. The US has just one ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant, while China has 90.