EPA Chief: Environmental and Public Health Rollbacks ‘Make Things Better’
WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler told a Senate oversight committee today that the scores of rollbacks of environmental and public health regulations under the Trump administration have made things better.
In a hearing of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top-ranking Democrat on the committee, asked Wheeler if he and the agency would “stop writing rules that will make things actually worse, not better.”
“All our rules make things better, sir,” Wheeler responded.
“It seems that at the end of his answer, Administrator Wheeler left out ‘for polluters,’” said EWG President Ken Cook.
“For more than three years, the Trump EPA has done everything it can to remove the safeguards meant to protect Americans’ exposure to toxic chemicals, dirty air and contaminated drinking water,” Cook said. “For Wheeler to claim these rollbacks were for the good of the nation is absurd and insulting.”
Here are just some of the regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration has initiated at the behest of the fossil fuel, chemical, agrochemical and automobile industries:
- Refusing to limit perchlorate, a toxic rocket fuel chemical, in the nation’s drinking water supply.
- Relaxing rules on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.
- Rolling back auto fuel efficiency standards to allow more than a billion additional tons of carbon dioxide pollution from tailpipes.
- Citing the coronavirus pandemic as reason for halting enforcement of critical environmental laws for the fossil fuel, chemical, manufacturing and electricity industries.
- Proposing to scrap protections for children from atrazine, a toxic pesticide linked to birth defects and cancer.
- Ignoring worker safety in the decision to keep methylene chloride, a lethal paint-stripper chemical, legal and in use.
- Quashing safety rules at chemical plants to ease the “burden” on industry.
- Rolling back regulations on how coal-fired power plants store coal ash waste and dispose of waste water contaminated with heavy metals.
- Proposing a new rule that will leave millions of American children exposed to dangerous levels of lead in drinking water.
- Repealing a clean water rule, imperiling drinking water sources for 117 million Americans.
- Repealing rules curbing methane pollution from oil and natural gas operations.
- Over the recommendations of EPA’s own scientists, refusing to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that can cause brain damage in children.
- Repealing a federal mandate to combat climate change by lowering coal plant emissions.
- Ignoring career agency scientists who called on the EPA to ban the notorious carcinogen asbestos.
- Siding with Monsanto, claiming the cancer-causing weedkiller glyphosate is “safe.”
- Rejecting calls to adopt health-protective plan to clean up PFAS contamination.
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