EPA Administrator at CPAC: ‘Our Environment Is Cleaner Today than It Has Ever Been’

NBC News

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler had good news for people who fear the catastrophic predictions about climate change and the call to transform American infrastructure and economy to fight it.

“Our environment is the cleaner today than it has ever been,” Wheeler said on Friday at the American Conservative Union’s CPAC 2020 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Wheeler then spoke about what President Donald Trump has done to make the government a good steward of the environment while at the same time growing the U.S. economy.

“We had a lot of regulations that were stopping growth around the country,” Wheeler said, adding that the Trump administration has eliminated 51 regulations, saving the American taxpayer $6.5 billion.

Wheeler said that as the agency celebrates an anniversary it also marks a time of environmental accomplishments.

“EPA is 50 years old this year,” Wheeler said. “Our air pollution is 74 percent lower than it was in 1970.”

Wheeler said that the EPA measures six criteria of air pollutants as part of its mission.

“We’ve been measuring them for 50 years,” Wheeler said. “And all six have gone down under President Trump’s leadership.”

“Our air is cleaner today,” Wheeler said. “Our water is cleaner today.”

When the EPA was founded, America had water problems, according to Wheeler.

“In 1970 40 percent of the water systems failed to meet EPA standards,” Wheeler said. “Today over 92 percent of the water systems meet the standards every single day.

The EPA is working with the other eight percent, Wheeler said, to solve their water problem and that the Trump administration wants to “make sure that we supply clean water to every American regardless of their zip code and where they live.”

“Everybody deserves clean air and clean water,” Wheeler said.

Another accomplishment of the Trump administration is cleaning up contaminated sites in communities around the country, which attracts private investors to rebuild those communities and has over that last three years created more than 155,000 jobs.

 

Wheeler said in his remarks on the panel, which also included Scott Turner, a member of Trump’s White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, that conservatives care about the environment.

“We also care about the environment,” Wheeler said. “I’m an Eagle Scout. I still go hiking. I still go camping. 

“And I want to make sure the environment is safe and preserved for future generations,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler also made a major announcement at CPAC about transparency at the EPA with the launch of a new online portal that will make the agency’s work available to every American.

“If we used a scientific study [to back actions the EPA takes] it has to be made available to the public,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler said in announcing the launch on Friday:

EPA has followed through on President Trump’s direction to streamline and improve the transparency of regulatory guidance issued by the agency. This new online database is a major milestone in government transparency.  Never before has the American public had access to all of the Agency’s guidance documents. This initiative spearheaded by President Trump will finally provide sunlight to agency decisions.

“On October 9, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13891, Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, to promote transparency by ensuring that all active guidance documents are made available to the public,” the announcement said.

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