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Senate Confirms Wheeler, Ex-Fossil Fuel Lobbyist, To Head EPA

Senate Confirms Wheeler, Ex-Fossil Fuel Lobbyist, To Head EPA

One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of ME, voted against Wheeler's confirmation Thursday on the grounds that he had worked to water down federal rules curbing greenhouse gas pollution from power plants and to weaken fuel standards for the nation's cars and pickup trucks.

During his Senate confirmation vote yesterday, Wheeler's record gave pause to at least two Senators who had previously pledged to support him, Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Joe Manchin III (D-West Virginia). The next day, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist and No. 2 at the Department of the Interior, became acting secretary when Ryan Zinke resigned amid mounting ethics investigations.

The Senate voted 53-45 in a procedural measure on Wednesday to end debate on Wheeler's nomination.

But most Republicans, including Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming, said Wheeler had eased the burden on industry without undermining key environmental protections.

"The Senate has taken decisive action to confirm Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency", Barrasso said.

Indiana Senator Todd Young said, "Mr. Wheeler has demonstrated an ability to find reasonable solutions to hard environmental issues". Collins added that her state of ME is at the receiving end of pollution generated by coal-fired power plants in other states.

Democrats used the vote as an opportunity to call for greater action on climate change, with more than six senators speaking to a almost empty chamber about why the federal government should press for steeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

More news: Emery wants his men to make a success of the big job

"We congratulate Andrew Wheeler on his confirmation to formally lead EPA and encourage him to expeditiously release a legally-defensible rulemaking for E15 use year-round and recommit to finalizing the rule by the June 1 summer driving season", Wheeler.

ACE calls on Wheeler to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard as the law of the land. Weeks later, he proposed gutting a landmark Obama-era power plant regulation, allowing, by the EPA's own calculus, enough pollution to cause an additional 1,400 premature deaths per year. As a result, many Americans born after the mid-1970s have never experienced average temperatures unaffected by human-caused emissions.

The world has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial levels, and a United Nations report last fall concluded that humans need to cut their carbon emissions almost in half over the coming decade to stave off the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

In February, Wheeler announced that the EPA would consider regulating toxic, cancer-causing "forever chemicals" contaminating drinking water across the country - a move critics said amounted to a delay that could sicken millions.

✅Weakening requirements that protect communities from accidents at chemical plants.

"Wheeler wants to turn the EPA into a wish-granting service for polluters, no matter the cost to public health or wildlife".

America's Power, a trade group that represents coal producers, applauded Wheeler's confirmation.


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