On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a hearing entitled, “Examining EPA’s Agenda: Protecting the Environment and Allowing America’s Economy to Grow.” The only witness to testify was Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler. Senators used this hearing as an opportunity to gain insight on how Mr. Wheeler, if awarded the position of full-time EPA Administrator, plans to maintain clean air, water, and land while simultaneously bolstering the U.S. economy.
In his opening testimony, Mr. Wheeler highlighted three areas he will prioritize as EPA Administrator:
- State and local governments, and Indian Affairs;
- Permitting and enforcement actions; and,
- Risk communication.
In these areas, Wheeler plans to provide stakeholders and partners with more certainty in the agency’s decisions and policymaking process.
The hearing was led by EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) who focused on the economic burden of federal environmental regulations. In his opening statement, Barrasso criticized the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule which broadens the bodies of water facing federal regulation. Mr. Wheeler committed to working with the chairman to rollback Obama-era regulations that hinder the U.S. economy. In general, Mr. Wheeler expressed an interest to repeal policies that conflict with economic interests.