Monday, September 11, 2017

Trump riles Dems with pick for powerful EPA job

William Wehrum, an energy industry attorney and former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, has been tapped to fulfill one of the agency’s most consequential roles. President Trump formally nominated Wehrum Thursday to be the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, where he would oversee a massive portfolio concerned with air pollution, climate change, auto regulation and more. If confirmed by the Senate, Wehrum would become one of the most powerful people at the 15,000-person agency behind Administrator Scott Pruitt. He would be responsible for the bulk of a massive deregulatory push by the Trump administration that involves rolling back or potentially revising rules on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector, ozone pollution and mercury, among other rules. Most of the regulations were written by the Obama administration. Wehrum would also have a wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, like the requirement to reevaluate major regulations on air quality every five years. “When it comes to public health, cleaning up the air and dealing with climate are incredibly important,” said Janet McCabe, who led the air office in an acting capacity under former President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. “And whoever is sitting in that chair has a significant opportunity to help move the clean air and public health agenda forward.” Wehrum’s nomination was quickly denounced by environmentalists and Democrats, who predict he would use his power at the EPA to grant the wishes of industry and polluters while weakening regulations and enforcement...more

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