GOP environment chairman plans ‘wholesale change’ at EPA

GOP environment chairman plans ‘wholesale change’ at EPA

The top senator overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning a “wholesale change” at the agency under President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE and a Republican Congress.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump boxed in on trade Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations Mike Enzi announces he'll retire from Senate after 2020 MORE (R-Wyo.), the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, wrote in a Fox News opinion piece Tuesday that he and Trump EPA nominee Scott Pruitt will implement a major policy turnaround at the agency.

Barrasso outlined the EPA’s failures under Obama, including the Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado and the Flint water crisis in Michigan. Barrasso also blamed the agency for instituting expensive regulations.

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“Disregard for the consequences of its actions has become the trademark of the EPA for the last eight years. Policy goals and talking points have consistently taken priority over American families. This cannot be the case any longer,” Barrasso wrote.

“I look forward to ushering in wholesale change at the EPA,” he continued. “I will be doing it alongside a committed and capable administrator.”

Barrasso’s panel will meet Wednesday to consider confirming Pruitt, who has been a frequent litigator against Obama's EPA as the attorney general of Oklahoma.

Barrasso applauded Pruitt’s work against Obama’s EPA, saying he “stood up for Oklahomans against the EPA’s extreme regulations on greenhouse gasses, methane emissions, and cross state air pollution,” as well as challenging “unworkable” water rules and fighting Obama’s interpretations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

The Wyoming senator praised Trump's commitment to require agencies to lift two regulations for each new regulation they put in place.

“President-elect Trump has vowed that his administration will overturn two federal regulations for every new one it proposes,” Barrasso wrote. “The administrator of EPA will play a vital role in keeping that promise. He must make sure that the agency meets its mission of protecting our environment—ensuring clean water, air, and land—while allowing our economy to grow.”