Trump EPA pick boasts of deregulatory actions at Senate hearing

Trump EPA pick boasts of deregulatory actions at Senate hearing
© Anna Moneymaker

Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Andrew Wheeler used his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday morning to highlight his deregulatory actions while vowing to continue them if selected as the agency's permanent head.

In his opening remarks for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Wheeler highlighted major deregulatory actions he has overseen in his six months heading the EPA on an acting basis, including proposals to roll back climate change rules for power plants and cars as well as federal protections for small waterways.

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“In 2018, EPA finalized 13 major deregulatory actions, saving Americans roughly $1.8 billion in regulatory costs," he said.

Wheeler also boasted about improving air and water quality in recent decades.

“From 1970 to 2017, U.S. criteria air pollution fell by 73 percent while the economy grew over 260 percent,” he writes, referring to the six major pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act.

“And we are ranked number one in the world for access to safe drinking water.”

Wheeler has been acting administrator since July, when Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: EPA to make formal decision on regulating drinking water contaminant | Utility to close coal plant despite Trump plea | Greens say climate is high on 2020 voters’ minds EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Court tosses challenge to EPA's exclusion of certain scientists from advisory boards MORE was pushed out from the agency amid growing ethics and spending scandals.

Trump formally nominated him last week to the post.

Updated at 10:41 a.m.