Top EPA Official, Who Oversaw Rollback of Key Climate Change and Pollution Control Initiatives, Quits

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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – Bill Wehrum, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of air and radiation, who played a key role in the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal key Obama-era climate change initiatives at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, quit today.

Wehrum was the architect of President Trump’s rollback of the Clean Power Plan that sought to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants, and led efforts to freeze fuel efficiency standards in cars and light trucks.

The Trump EPA’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan that Wehrum championed is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by a paltry 1.5 percent by 2030, far less than the 30 percent target set by the Obama EPA.

Wehrum’s close ties to his former law firm and clients in the fossil fuel and chemicals industries have come under increased scrutiny, including with an investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee into whether he improperly helped both in his capacity as the top air official at the agency.

“As the top official in charge of reducing air pollution in the U.S., Wehrum has done the exact opposite,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “From smokestacks to tail pipes, Wehrum has led the fight on behalf of the fossil fuel industry to block efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions. It will be hard to find someone more unfit than Wehrum to run EPA’s air office, but if there’s any group up to the challenge, it’s the Trump administration.”

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