November 16, 2018

Udall Statement on Trump Intent to Nominate Andrew Wheeler as EPA Administrator

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget, released the following statement after President Trump said he would nominate Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to serve as administrator in a permanent capacity:  

“If President Trump follows through on his statement today and nominates Acting Administrator Wheeler to serve in a permanent capacity, the Senate will finally have the opportunity to perform our constitutional duties to advise and consent on who gets to lead the EPA—an agency tasked with protecting human health and the environment. The stakes could not be higher for all Americans’ health -- including clean air, clean water, and safety from toxic chemicals – and for an essential agency whose mission has been badly damaged under this administration.

“I opposed Mr. Wheeler’s original nomination because I have serious concerns about what his background – as a coal lobbyist who undermined climate science – means for his leadership of EPA, and because I foresaw he would soon be called on to lead the agency in the wake of Scott Pruitt’s devastating tenure without being sufficiently vetted for the position. Now that it appears we will have the chance to vet his nomination fully, senators from both sides of the aisle must evaluate his record at EPA, where he has continued to implement this administration’s devastating environmental agenda, as well as his previous career as a fossil fuel lobbyist and his handling of potential conflicts of interest.

“I recognize that Mr. Wheeler has restored some basic, bare-minimum transparency measures to the agency, and that he acknowledges the importance of communication with Congress. But that’s not nearly enough to show me that his leadership at EPA will truly put American’s health and safety first, and not the bottom lines of corporate polluters.”