Letter: Wheeler is wrong for EPA

Published: 1/21/2019 12:01:19 AM

Senate hearings for coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the Environmental Protection Agency are underway. Wheeler’s been acting EPA administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace. Wheeler, like many nominees in this administration, now finds himself poised to regulate the same industries he once represented.

Wheeler has wasted no time weakening the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards. The MATS rollback appeared on coal giant Murray Energy’s wishlist of environmental deregulation. The same Murray Energy that Wheeler was a lobbyist for.

Think about that. An EPA chief who pushes for more mercury and heavy metals in our air and water so his former employer can save money on scrubbers.

While the rest of the world deals with the looming reality of a climate crisis, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions – already second highest in the world – increased another 2.7 percent. And yet the knee-capping of the EPA continues. First under Pruitt and now Wheeler, political appointees put corporate profits over public health, rolling back regulations on vehicle emissions and power plants and scoffing at the agency’s charge to protect our land, air and water.

Confirming Wheeler to the EPA is asking the fox to guard the henhouse, and Americans shouldn’t stand for it. With New Hampshire leading the nation in pediatric, bladder and breast cancer rates, now is not the time to elevate a man with a long history of protecting polluters to the EPA’s top job. I oppose this dangerous, irresponsible and unacceptable nomination, and I hope our U.S. senators will, too.




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