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EPA head travels to Costa Rica in final days of Trump administration

EPA head travels to Costa Rica in final days of Trump administration
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Ex-Trump Interior, EPA leaders find new posts Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation MORE will spend some of his final days in office in Costa Rica.

The trip comes after the EPA canceled Wheeler’s scheduled trip to Taiwan in November amid pushback over the cost of a $250,000 chartered flight amid the coronavirus. 

Wheeler is heading south to discuss marine litter, a pet issue for the administrator, as well as agriculture issues.

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But the EPA would not disclose the cost of the trip and did not respond to questions about the need for travel in the waning days of the administration.

“Administrator Wheeler will speak at a roundtable hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), with representatives from the private sector in Costa Rica on ways to work together to protect the global food supply. The Administrator will also hold meetings with the Vice Minister for Environment and Vice Minister for Water and Oceans at the Ministry of Environment and Energy,” EPA spokesman James Hewitt told The Hill on Thursday, adding that the conversations would focus on marine litter. “The mission will also include site visits and meetings with private sector and non-governmental organizations to learn more about their actions promoting environmental protection in Costa Rica.”

Details of Wheeler’s Taiwan trip were first reported by The New York Times in November, finding that the three-day trip planned for December would cost $45,000 for a delegation of 10.

The outlet also reported the agency was weighing trips for Wheeler to several other countries in Latin America, including Panama, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

The EPA did not respond to questions about Wheeler’s travel arrangements or additional travel plans.