Energy & Environment

EPA mistakenly criticizes Trump’s executive order

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apologized Thursday after mistakenly sending a news release that criticized President Trump’s executive order on climate change policies.

In the release, the EPA included quotes praising Trump’s Tuesday order to start undoing former President Barack Obama’s climate actions, but it misattributed a negative statement to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

“With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible — it’s irrational,” it quoted Capito as saying.


“Today’s executive order calls into question America’s credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime.”

However, that statement actually came from Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee and a harsh critic of Trump’s environmental agenda.

“Sen. Carper is happy to lend his words to a good cause,” a Carper spokeswoman said.

Capito, by contrast, cheered Trump’s order on Tuesday.

“Stopping this disastrous plan will preserve America’s coal industry, expand our manufacturing renaissance that is reliant upon affordable energy, and protect American families from unprecedented hikes in their electric bills,” she said in a statement

Capito attended the signing ceremony Tuesday, and Trump thanked her in his speech.

The EPA sent out a corrected version of the release later Thursday morning, with Capito’s actual quote.

EPA spokesman John Konkus said the agency’s press office accidentally sent a draft version of the release.

“We apologize for the error and are making sure that our process is improved as we build our team,” he said.

The mistake came amid a rift between many of the EPA’s nonpolitical career employees and the political leaders appointed by Trump, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Some EPA employees have made their objections known, including through a campaign to lobby the Senate against Pruitt’s confirmation.

An EPA scientist explained his concerns in a letter to The New York Times published Wednesday.

“I am very saddened by what I see these days under an E.P.A. administrator whose role it is to dismantle the agency that he leads,” wrote Michael Kravitz, who works in Cincinnati.

Tags Barack Obama Climate change Environmental Protection Agency Shelley Moore Capito Tom Carper

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