Ex-EPA officials urge Wheeler to change direction of agency

Ex-EPA officials urge Wheeler to change direction of agency
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A group of former officials with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are urging acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to turn the agency around following a number of decisions they are calling reckless.

Four former EPA air office heads, as well as former Obama-era Administrator Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group Overnight Energy: Automakers group sides with Trump in emissions lawsuit | Latest on California wildfires | Walden won't seek reelection | Park Service scraps plan to charge protesters for security MORE, sent a letter to Wheeler and Office of Air Administrator Bill Wherum on Wednesday asking them to reset the direction of the EPA.

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"As your time as Acting Administrator begins, you have the opportunity to clearly set the direction of the agency and return to its core statutory mission of protecting public health," Roger Strelow, David Hawkins, Bob Perciasepe, McCarthy and Janet McCabe wrote.

"We urge you to take that opportunity."

In their letter, the group outlines concerns over the agency's negative rhetoric on environmental protections and EPA's recent proposal to weaken the national standard for auto emissions. The former chiefs, some of whom served under Republican administrations, urged Wheeler and Wherum to resist outside voices in making their regulatory decisions.

"As you assume leadership, we urge you to reconsider some of the proposals that seem to be motivated by a reckless drive to de-regulate, no matter the cost, or in response to requests by industries or individuals motivated by their own bottom line or political leanings, not by what is best for the American people," the group wrote.

Additionally, the group asks the EPA officials to acknowledge the damage the recent rollback of carbon and methane emissions regulations will do to the climate.

"Protecting public health is neither partisan nor political, and must be based on good science. Setting a standard for healthy air is not a matter of opinion, no more than determining a healthy blood pressure or cholesterol level," they wrote.