Trump will roll back more environmental regulations if re-elected, says EPA chief

Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaks during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, May 20, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

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President Donald Trump will continue to weaken environmental regulations on industries if re-elected for a second term in November, while working to complete Superfund cleanup projects, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler. 

The Trump administration in a second term would establish a cost-benefit analysis of any new regulation and expand the use of “science transparency” in order to justify the science behind implementing new regulations, Wheeler said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The EPA also plans to continue working on cleanup efforts at Superfund sites that have gotten delayed. 

“We need to make sure we are speaking to people where they live and we’re addressing the problems they see on a daily basis,” Wheeler told The Journal.

After three years in office, the Trump administration is reversing more than 100 major climate and environmental rules that it’s deemed burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, even as climate change accelerates and global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Analysts say many of the administration’s rollbacks could increase emissions and lead to thousands of additional deaths from bad air quality. 

Among many rollbacks to rules that protect air, water and land, the administration repealed and replaced the Obama-era emissions rules for power plants and vehicles, weakened the country’s landmark environmental law, cut protections for most of the country’s wetlands and weakened regulations on methane, a potent climate-changing gas.

Some of the rollbacks have been criticized by businesses they’re meant to help, including some major oil and gas producers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Many of the reversals also face legal challenges from environmental groups and states. 

As the November presidential election approaches, the Trump administration has worked quickly to finish some of its major regulatory goals, as some of the new rules could be reversed if Democrats win control of the White House and Congress.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has released a plan to put $2 trillion into green infrastructure and energy over four years to curb climate change and spur economic growth, which the Trump campaign has argued would hurt the oil and gas industry. 

“The Obama-Biden administration only focused on climate change at the expense of the communities here in the United States and the expense of reducing pollution where people live,” Wheeler said. 

Read the full interview in The Wall Street Journal. 

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