EPA chief arrives in Israel for water management conference

EPA chief arrives in Israel for water management conference
© Aaron Schwartz

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy: Critics question data behind new Trump water rule | Groups seek more time to comment on Trump environmental rollback | EPA under scrutiny over backlog of toxic waste cleanups Critics question data used in rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides MORE is visiting Israel this week, where the Trump official will deliver the keynote address at a water management conference.

A press release from the EPA on Sunday said that Wheeler had toured Apollonia National Park, an area overlooking a region being cleaned up by Israel's military, and met with private and government officials.


"It is an honor to visit the Holy Land, and meet with many of its amazing people," said Wheeler in the press release. "Getting a chance to see their unique environmental issues in person is important to our continued partnership achieving shared environmental successes."

Conference organizers told The Times of Israel that the event's purpose was to "expose the world to Israel’s industrial activity in the field of water."

"Industry heads, regulators, company directors and producers come to exhibit what they do and to learn about innovation. For this reason, Andrew Wheeler has been invited this year to describe the activities of the Environmental Protection Agency in the area of water," organizers said.

Wheeler has faced criticism for the Trump administration's response to climate change from environmental activists, and in September described his agency's authority to act on the issue as "limited."

He has also declined to say whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg MORE personally believes climate change to be a real threat.

“I’m not going to speak for the administration on that,” Wheeler told McClatchy. “Just from my own perspective, as the administrator of the EPA, I believe that climate change is happening and I believe that man has an impact on climate.”