In a vote that environmentalist are dubbing “shameful”, this week the Senate confirmed Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, and former coal lobbyist, Andrew Wheeler as EPA chief.
Wheeler, who has served as EPA administration since the resignation of Scott Pruitt last July, has taken action to harm the public health and environment on average every three days, according to the Sierra Club. In just his first week he rolled back protections for coal ash, putting public health in danger, and opened the door for more toxic pollution in waterways.
Although Scott Pruitt worked along the same agenda, continuing “Pruitt’s toxic legacy”, Wheeler has proved to be a “much smarter” threat to the environment and public health.
“Unlike with some nominees, we do not have to speculate about what Mr. Wheeler will do in office,” Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president for political affairs for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), told The Washington Post. “From his actions as acting administrator for the past eight months, we have clear evidence of his agenda: undermine rules to limit toxic mercury, allow more smog and water pollution, and roll back protections against the threat of climate change. The senators who voted to entrust Mr. Wheeler with our environment know exactly what he will do with that power.”
Wheeler has already had the EPA dramatically cut finds against polluters, as well as roll back fuel efficieny standards as well as carbon and mercury emissions rules.
In his eight months as head of the EPA, Wheeler has successfully proposed:
✅Rolling back requirements to reduce mercury emissions
✅Reducing #CleanerCars standards
✅Weakening requirements that protect communities from accidents at chemical plants. https://t.co/hiNggdQOK6
— Union of Concerned Scientists (@UCSUSA) February 28, 2019
The results of the vote came to 52 to 47 in support of Wheeler’s confirmation. Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins was the only member of the Republican party to vote against Wheeler’s confirmation. Collins released a public statement in which she notes, “The policies [Wheeler] has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation.”
I will vote against Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation to become Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/rhbQeRwJAS
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) February 27, 2019