Ex-EPA workers ask Virginia senators not to confirm Wheeler
More than 150 former Environmental Protection Agency employees are writing to the Virginia Senate, asking the Democrat-controlled chamber to oppose the nomination of former EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler to GOP Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s Cabinet.
Watchdog: 2 Trump EPA appointees defrauded agency of $130K
Two high-ranking Trump political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency engaged in fraudulent payroll activities — including payments to employees after they were fired and to one of the officials when he was absent from work — that cost the agency more than $130,000, a report by an internal watchdog says. Former chief of staff Ryan Jackson and former White House liaison Charles Munoz submitted “official timesheets and personnel forms that contained materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements" to mislead EPA personnel and facilitate improper payments over multiple months, according to a report by EPA’s Office of Inspector General. The two men, who have since left the EPA, arranged for former agency employees to continue collecting nearly $38,000 salaries even after they were fired, the report says.news.yahoo.com
Trump appointees allowed terminated EPA staffers to keep receiving salaries, watchdog report says
Two former EPA officials committed fraudulent payroll-related activities — including one giving the other an improper pay increase — that cost the agency more than $130,000, the EPA's independent watchdog found.washingtonpost.com
AP Interview: EPA head removes Trump-era science advisers
Reganis taking steps to restore what he calls scientific integrity at the EPA. “Scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA,'' Regan said. He said that “is very true," but added that "underpinning that is the importance of scientific integrity and transparency here at the agency. The actions we’re taking are indicative of how serious we are about repairing the scientific integrity at EPA.'' The overhaul announced Wednesday ousts more than 40 members of the two science advisory boards, including some whose terms do not expire this year.
Transition or tropics? EPA chief looks at final trips abroad
After months of travel to battleground states before Election Day, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency now is looking at taxpayer-funded trips abroad, including the tropics, in the Trump administration's last weeks. Administrator Andrew Wheeler had been invited next month to Taiwan, a trip with an estimated cost of $45,000, EPA spokesman James Hewitt said Thursday. “Administrator Wheeler remains head of the agency and will continue to advance environmental progress both here and abroad,” Hewitt said. The New York Times, which first reported Wheeler’s travel plans, said Wheeler and other EPA officials were expected to travel by chartered flight to minimize exposure to the coronavirus. Hewitt, the EPA spokesman, did not immediately respond to a question asking whether Wheeler was doing any planning to help the agency transition from one administration to the next.
EPA chief pledges more cleanups, less focus on climate
Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler on Thursday defended the Trump administration's record on protecting the nation's air and water and said a second term would bring a greater focus on pollution cleanups in disadvantaged communities and less emphasis on climate change. Some of the nation's bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, were enacted during his administration. Wheeler, an EPA and Senate staffer in the 1990s and a former coal industry lobbyist, said the agency had accomplished much. "Americas environment today is cleaner than its ever been in our lifetimes, he said, adding that during the Trump administration, air pollution has fallen while Superfund cleanups have accelerated and EPA programs have pumped $40 billion into clean-water infrastructure upgrades. Instead of confusing words with actions, and choosing empty symbolism over doing a good job, we can focus our attention and resources on helping communities help themselves, Wheeler said.
6 former EPA bosses call for agency reset after election
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building is shown in Washington. Six former Environmental Protection Agency chiefs are calling for an agency reset after President Donald Trumps regulation-chopping, industry-minded first term. The group is presenting a detailed action plan drafted by former EPA staffers for whoever wins the Nov. 3 presidential election. Most living former EPA heads joined in Wednesday's appeal, with Trumps first EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, being the notable exception. The group said the road map was meant to guide whatever administration the Nov. 3 presidential election puts in place, although many of the proposals are implicitly or explicitly critical of Trump EPA actions.