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Andrew Wheeler Fails to Account for EPA Actions at Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s work to undermine the regulation of mercury, a proven neurotoxin, and other critical health and environmental protections show he is unfit to lead the agency, the National Wildlife Federation said today.

Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said Wheeler’s testimony to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during his confirmation hearing today did little to account for or substantively address his decisions around the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, the Clean Water Rule or other actions contrary to the EPA’s mission.

“Today, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler repeatedly refused to acknowledge the devastating health consequences of his actions, showing neither remorse, nor a willingness to change course,” O’Mara said. “Most troubling was his unabashed explanation of the indefensible and egregious rollback of mercury standards — a substance we know causes irreparable harm children and wildlife alike. We urge all Senators to think of the health of their constituents before confirming any nominee who refuses to support scientifically-sound public health protections.”

The National Wildlife Federation had called upon Wheeler and Senate Republicans to delay his confirmation hearing, which took place while thousands of EPA employees are furloughed due to the government shutdown. The National Wildlife Federation also joined with other conservation organizations to say EPA staff should not be focused on nomination preparations while critical health and environmental programs were halted.

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