mcloudy.png
Tuesday September 17th, 2019 8:36AM

Former Bush, Reagan EPA heads warn on Trump rollbacks

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental Protection Agency heads under three previous Republican presidents joined their Democratic counterparts Tuesday in telling lawmakers they were concerned by the Trump administration's rapid rollbacks of environmental protections.

"The EPA on the track it's on ... is endangering public health," Christine Todd Whitman, EPA administrator under George W. Bush, told the House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee. Whitman said she was "deeply concerned that five decades of environmental progress are at risk because of the attitudes and approach of this administration."

Lee Thomas and William K. Reilly, EPA chiefs under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, respectively, also spoke, as did Obama-era EPA leader Gina McCarthy. The unusual testimony came after seven of the 10 surviving, Senate-confirmed past heads of the 49-year-old EPA signed a letter urging lawmakers to work to make the EPA focus on its mission of protecting public health and the environment.

"I've never seen a situation where three Republicans and one Democrat come in and sound the alarm the way they have today," subcommittee Chairwoman Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said after the hearing.

Much of the criticisms from the former EPA heads focused on perceptions that the Trump administration was focusing on economic and financial interests, sidelining or rejecting science and minimizing environmental and health effects in moving to ease dozens of environmental regulations.

Asked for reaction, EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said current EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler was working to engage the agency's Science Advisory Board, or SAB.

"Administrator Wheeler will continue to work with the SAB and try to improve relations that the previous administration took for granted," Abboud said.

Abboud did not immediately comment on the broader criticisms. While his predecessors were testifying, however, Wheeler tweeted that the agency was balancing "our regulations to ensure a healthy and safe environment while also saving the taxpayer $3.6 billion. And we're just getting started."

With his comment, Wheeler tweeted a Washington Examiner article that quoted him as saying he had saved taxpayers that amount by rolling back 40 "major regulations, and plans to axe another 49."

Republicans on the subcommittee did not join the former EPA heads or Democratic lawmakers in expressing alarm at the rollbacks, most of which have targeted Obama-era measures on air, water, pesticides and other threats, and climate change.

Republicans instead said the EPA under past presidents had grown uncommunicative or adversarial with businesses and ordinary people. "Under your leadership, I think the EPA went rogue," Rep. David McKinley, a West Virginia Republican, told McCarthy.

During the regulation-cutting Reagan administration, Thomas told lawmakers, congressional oversight and unending press coverage of EPA changes would be enough to get the president himself to step in and make sure the agency was still following its mission of protecting public health and the environment.

There was sometimes the perception that when it came to the EPA, it was "jobs vs. the environment," Thomas said after the hearing. "There's been fifty years of history that says that's not the tradeoff."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Sanders to outline 'what democratic socialism means to me'
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is set to give a major speech to rebut accusations by President Donald Trump and others that he is too liberal to win in a general election
5:02PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Feisty Virginia primaries closely watched for national trend
Virginia's highly charged legislative primary elections are being closely watched as a possible political barometer for 2020 presidential election year
4:58PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Woods feeling much better as Pebble approaches
The Latest from the US Open: Woods rounding into form as Pebble Beach approaches
4:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: House authorizes lawsuits against Barr, McGahn
The House has approved a resolution that will make it easier to file lawsuits against the Trump administration when officials defy subpoenas
4:35PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump briefed on Nebraska flood damage
President Donald Trump is getting briefed on Midwestern flood damage as he visits Nebraska prior to participating in political events in Iowa
4:31PM ( 37 minutes ago )
AP sources: Trump Jr. to speak with Senate panel Wednesday
President Donald Trump's eldest son will meet with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday behind closed doors, according to a person familiar with the meeting
4:25PM ( 42 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Sanders to outline 'what democratic socialism means to me'
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is set to give a major speech to rebut accusations by President Donald Trump and others that he is too liberal to win in a general election
5:02PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Feisty Virginia primaries closely watched for national trend
Virginia's highly charged legislative primary elections are being closely watched as a possible political barometer for 2020 presidential election year
4:58PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: Woods feeling much better as Pebble approaches
The Latest from the US Open: Woods rounding into form as Pebble Beach approaches
4:46PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Tariff deal gives momentum to 'Remain-in-Mexico' policy
Centerpiece of U.S.-Mexico deal on immigration calls for rapid expansion of a new policy that makes Central American asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.
4:46PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Ratings show no need to worry about HBO post-'Thrones'
Ratings for 'Big Little Lies' and 'Chernobyl' show there's no need to worry about HBO post-'Game of Thrones'
4:45PM ( 22 minutes ago )