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: Trump officials suspend oil, gas production on Utah plots after lawsuit | California bucks Trump on lightbulb rollback | Scientists join Dems in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Scientists join Democrats in panning EPA's 'secret science' rule Overnight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies 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.