Aug 12, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Former EPA chiefs call for post-election agency "reset"

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler (L) speaks as President Donald Trump (R) looks on during an East Room event on the environment July 7, 2019 at the White House

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and President Trump at the White House in July. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Six former Environmental Protection Agency chiefs who served in Republican and Democratic administrations signed an open letter Wednesday calling for a "reset" of the agency after November's presidential election.

Why it matters: The letter from the bipartisan Environmental Protection Network, comprising over 500 former EPA senior managers and employees, expresses concern concerned about "the current state of affairs at EPA," without naming President Trump whose administration has rolled back several Obama-era environmental protections.

"As EPA approaches its 50th anniversary this December, we believe the time has come to reset the future course for EPA in a new, forward-looking direction to address the environmental challenges we face today and those that lie ahead."
ā€” Environmental Protection Network letter

The other side: EPA spokesperson James Hewitt responded in an emailed statement to Axios and other outlets to the letter, which is signed by former commissioners Lee Thomas, William Reilly, Carol Browner, Christine Todd Whitman, Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy.

  • Hewitt said Andrew Wheeler, the agency's current administrator, is "proud of our record addressing environmental problems impacting Americans."
  • Wheeler "won't be taking 'reset' advice from administrators who ignored" the Flint lead drinking water contamination crisis, the "botched the Gold King Mine response" to the waste water spill in Colorado and who "encouraged New Yorkers" to breathe "contaminated air at Ground Zero" after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hewitt added.

Read the letter in full, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper