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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."
— 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

Updated Sep 28, 2020 - Health

Texas governor declares disaster after brain-eating amoeba found in city's water

Characteristics associated with a case of amebic meningoencephalitis due to Naegleria fowleri parasites. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a disaster declaration for Brazoria County Sunday amid concerns that the water supply may contain the brain-eating amoeba naegleria fowleri.

Driving the news: Lake Jackson issued a separate disaster declaration Saturday and a "Boil Water Notice" is in place for the city following the death of a 6-year-old boy on Sept. 8

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 28, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The Supreme Court's coming rightward shift on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amy Coney Barrett's likely ascension to the Supreme Court would affect climate policy beyond shoving the court rightward in the abstract.

Why it matters: If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, his regulations and potential new climate laws would face litigation that could reach the high court.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

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