EPA Chief Promises Year of ‘Progress’ To Mark Agency’s 50th Anniversary

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For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, December 3, 2019

WASHINGTON – To mark the Environmental Protection Agency’s 50th anniversary, agency chief Andrew Wheeler has announced plans for a year-long celebration, promising “to build on our progress for future generations” – a boast that invites skepticism, given the Trump administration’s continued rollback of environmental protections.

The EPA turns 50 on Dec. 2, 2020. Wheeler’s announcement touted its historic achievements of cleaner air and water, while ignoring its shameful record under President Trump of kowtowing to polluting industries.

“President Trump and Administrator Wheeler will spend a full year saluting the EPA’s 50 years of environmental protection?” asked EWG President Ken Cook. “We haven’t seen a celebration this joyous and heartfelt since the Red Wedding episode in ‘Game of Thrones.’”

Cook added: “No one should be surprised when Wheeler’s plans for ‘progress’ next year mirror the assault on human health and the environment he and President Trump have carried out over the past three.”

Since Trump took office, the EPA has taken unprecedented actions on behalf of the chemical, pesticide and fossil fuel industries, in support of boosting profits over public health. The more than 80 environmental rules the Trump administration has repealed or is in the process of repealing at the behest of industry include:

  • Repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.
  • Canceling the requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.
  • Vacating a scheduled ban of the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos.
  • Withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate pact.
  • Rolling back the rule limiting mercury emissions from power plants.
  • Shutting down the EPA’s children’s environmental health office.
  • Refusing to ban the notorious carcinogen asbestos.
  • Revoking the rule preventing coal companies from dumping debris in streams and rivers.

Read more about Wheeler and the Trump administration’s assault on children’s environmental health protection here.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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