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Key Senate Panel Approves Andrew Wheeler, Former Coal Lobbyist, To Be EPA Chief

EWG: ‘Opposing Wheeler should be easy decision for senators who care about public health’
Contact: 
(202) 667-6982
For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Senate committee with oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency today narrowly approved President Trump’s nominee, Andrew Wheeler, to be the next EPA administrator. Wheeler's nomination now goes for a vote before the full Senate.

“For any senator who truly cares about the health of her or his constituents, opposing Andrew Wheeler’s nomination should be an easy decision,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “As acting EPA administrator, Wheeler has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s as unfit to be in charge of protecting the public from pollution as a career thief would be as police chief.”

At a Washington Post forum in November, Wheeler was asked to name three policies he had implemented to reduce air and water pollution. “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to give you three off the top of my head,” he replied.

“The man who recently said he’d have trouble naming three things he’s done at EPA to improve air and water quality has no business running the agency in charge of protecting those resources,” Cook said.

Here are some of Wheeler’s actions that will put the health of the American people, including children, at risk:

  • Approving scores of new toxic chemicals without adequate safety review.
  • Fighting a federal court ruling ordering the EPA to carry out a ban on the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos.
  • Gutting an Obama-era rule that has cut by 70 percent power plant emissions of mercury, a highly toxic chemical known to harm the nervous systems of children and fetuses.
  • Repealing and replacing Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants in order to save lives and lower the number of children suffering from asthma. Wheeler’s replacement plan, according to researchers at Harvard University, would mean 36,000 premature deaths and more than 600,000 cases of childhood respiratory disease each decade.
  • According to news reports, declining to set a legal limit on the PFAS family of chemicals widespread in the nation’s drinking water – chemicals linked to cancer, thyroid disease and weakened childhood immunity.
  • Repealing critical safeguards that prohibit the dumping of pollution into sensitive waterways that provide tap water for more than 117 million Americans.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.