Environmental Protection Agency staff are pleading with Virginia lawmakers to reject their former boss as the state’s top natural resources chief or run the risk of damaging public health standards.
Former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has been touted by newly-elected Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to serve as the state’s natural resources secretary.
Federal staff who worked under Wheeler say they fear a repeat of what they describe as “misguided leadership” if Wheeler is confirmed in the Old Dominion.
In a letter to Virginia Senate leaders, members of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, a union of government employees, railed against Wheeler who served in the Trump administration from 2019 to 2021.
“He will work to repeal many of the commonsense rules that protect Virginia’s public health and safety,” AFGE Council president Marie Owens Powell wrote on January 19, adding that welcoming Wheeler is akin to giving unscrupulous corporations “more ways to dump pollutants into your state’s air and water.”
AFGE members lambasted Wheeler for approving regulations that “weakened greenhouse gas standards for power plants, cars, and oil and gas” producers; rejecting the “sound scientific principles supporting the mission” of the agency, and slashing EPA staff “while establishing a hostile work culture.”
More than 150 former EPA staffers criticized Wheeler for “favoring polluters” while he was in charge of the agency and preventing internal efforts to restore normalcy when he exited the position, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BUSINESS INSIDER