EPA's Wheeler: Climate Change 'Not the Greatest Crisis'

WASHINGTON – Andrew Wheeler, acting chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday that he doesn’t consider climate change “the greatest crisis” facing the nation but rather “a huge issue that has to be addressed globally.”

Testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Wheeler – President Trump’s nominee to head the agency officially – was pressed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on whether he agrees with Trump that climate change is a hoax.

“I believe that climate change is real. I believe that man has an impact on it,” Wheeler said. “I have not used the ‘hoax’ word myself.”

But Wheeler made it clear that he remains a skeptic about the severity of the threat posed by climate change and some of the effects scientists say it is having.

“Are the wildfires in California, are those related to climate change?” Sanders asked.

“There’s probably some relation to climate change,” Wheeler replied. “I think the biggest issue is related to forest management,” which the president has pointed to as the main cause of the fires. 

Sanders: “Not the droughts?”

Wheeler: “Not in my opinion.”

“Dismissing the clear threat to Americans from the climate crisis should be enough to immediately disqualify Wheeler from being the head of EPA,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “With many families still reeling from their lives being upended by the impacts of climate change, Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will aggressively engage the crisis, not swat it aside as merely another ‘issue’ that we need to address.”


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.

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