Trump's choice to implement the EPA says that climate change is not the biggest crisis & # 39; is what the world is facing
President Donald Trump's candidate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency called Wednesday Climate Change & # 39; a big problem & # 39; but not the "biggest crisis", in which he elicits fire from democrats at his confirmation hearing on the regulatory reversals he has taken in six months as acting administrator of the agency.
Republicans in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of the GOP usually had praise for Andrew Wheeler, who served as the acting head of the office since Scott Pruitt stepped down between ethical scandals in July. The committee chairman, Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Named Wheeler & # 39; very well qualified & # 39; to get the job done.
But the Democrats urged Wheeler about his work as a lobbyist who helped an influential coal tycoon to meet Trump officials before his appointment to the EPA, his steps in deregulation and what he said was his inattention to the growing dangers of climate change.
"You seem to consistently do things that undermine the health and safety of this nation", said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Against Wheeler.
Markey asked him why he withdrew from rules that, according to proponents, protect human health and the environment.
& # 39; I believe we are going forward & # 39; in terms of protection, Wheeler replied.
Asked: Andrew Wheeler, Trump's choice to perform the EPA in the wake of the fact that Scott Pruitt ceased with regard to transplant claims, faced a barrage of questions from democratic senators at the beginning of a confirmation hearing
Angry: Bernie Sanders raised his voice when he interviewed Andrew Wheeler, Trump's choice to run the EPA, during a hearing in the Senate and said that Wheeler had not mentioned climate change in his first comments to lawmakers
Key moment: Andrew Wheeler leaves at the beginning of his confirmation as EPA secretary at the end of his testimony
Protest: There were environmental activists in the commission chamber when Andrew Wheeler faced questions about his file
Wheeler mentioned changes he had initiated to reverse the future mileage standards for cars & cars and to reduce the cutting off of Obama's time on dirty burning coal-fired power plants.
He said that EPA employees, whom he did not identify, had come to the conclusion that these reversals would ultimately lead to health gains.
Environmental groups and formal assessments by the EPA and other agencies have countered this by saying that the changes would increase pollution and increase damage to people and the climate.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., Said that the reversals in standards for driving and toxic mercury emissions under Wheeler were examples of unsafe deregulation and went beyond what industries themselves wanted.
Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., Noted that Wheeler had not mentioned climate change in his first comments to lawmakers.
& Do you agree that climate change is a global crisis? & # 39; Asked Sanders, sometimes screaming.
& # 39; I would not call it the biggest crisis, & # 39; said Wheeler. & # 39; I would call it a big problem that needs to be tackled globally. & # 39;
Wheeler told the lawmakers that he had read a huge report on the government's climate change that was issued late last year, with an emphasis on man-made climate change.
Wheeler said he had received one staff briefing on the climate change report so far. The work of the EPA and other government agencies, the report emphasizes the enormous economic toll that is expected of ever-increasing forest fires, hurricanes and other extreme weather under climate change.
Wheeler said the news media & # 39; worst case scenario & # 39; s & # 39; of the climate report had seized.
& # 39; You are a former lobbyist in the coal industry who sits here, & # 39; replied Markey. & # 39; That is the worst case scenario, what you are proposing here & # 39; to relax the rules of the era of the Obama & # 39; s that are meant to limit climate-changing emissions of fossil fuels.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and other republican lawmakers, on the other hand, praised Wheeler for attempting to remove federal protection measures for millions of miles of wetlands and waterways and other proposals. Republican lawmakers said that the protection had charged farmers and others.
The grandson of a miner, Wheeler worked for the EPA in the 1990s and later as a long-time Republican Senate staffer.
Democrats urged Wheeler over his lobby before joining the EPA, saying his work for coal companies should disqualify him from leading an agency that regulates coal.
Wheeler's lobby customers included coal magnate Bob Murray, who pushed Trump's government after the 2016 election to award a series of breaks for the collapsed domestic coal industry.
Tension source: Wheeler was accused by the Democrats that it was a shill for the coal industry. Wheeler's lobby customers included coal magnate Bob Murray, who pushed Trump's government after the 2016 election to award a series of breaks to the slack domestic coal industry
Stopped outside: demonstrators did not have access to the commission chamber
Wheeler accompanied Murray to a meeting in March 2017 to bring the list of desired rollbacks and other breaks for coal to minister Rick Perry of Energy.
Wheeler told senators that his main work for Murray was on health benefits and pensions.
& # 39; I did not work on the plan, I do not have a copy of it. I saw it briefly, "Wheeler said, referring to Murray's wish list.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, showed an inflated version of a photo of the meeting with Perry, with Wheeler on Murray's side.
A second photo showed Murray's rollback plan in the hands of Wheeler.
Murray had looked for some of the coal interruptions that the EPA had carried out under Wheeler ever since. That included Wheeler signing a rule that eased the federal regulation of poisonous koolas, removing an Obama rule that forced electricity suppliers to move away from dirty coal-fired power plants and focused on an Obama rule that limits toxic mercury emissions from coal-fired power stations .
A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed an ethics complaint at the EPA office of the Inspector General Tuesday, claiming that Wheeler's oversight on those and other rollbacks at EPA would be his ethics of state ethics have violated to abstain from regulatory decisions that are affecting his former lobbying client for at least two years.
EPA spokesman John Konkus called the accusation & # 39; unfounded & # 39; and & # 39; error & # 39; and said that Wheeler works with EPA ethics officials and follows their guidelines.