The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday approved four nominees to key posts at the Environmental Protection Agency, including one appointee with ties to the chemical industry who will head the agency’s office of chemical safety.
Senator Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the committee, said two of the nominees were of “grave concern”: Bill Wehrum, nominated for assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, and Michael Dourson to head up the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
Carper called Dourson “one of the most troubling nominees I have ever considered during my time on this committee.”
Senator James Inhofe of oil-producing Oklahoma, the panel’s senior Republican, praised the passage of the nominees and urged the full Senate to quickly confirm them so they can “improve public health within the scope of the EPA’s authority.”
Republicans say the EPA under former President Barack Obama overstepped its authority to regulate. Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s EPA administrator, has said the agency had an “activist agenda” under former President Barack Obama.
Pruitt has worked to do away with regulations pushed through by the Obama administration, and has proposed scrapping the landmark Clean Power Plan that sought to curb emissions linked to climate change. Pruitt sued the agency more than a dozen times when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general.
Jeff Holmstead, a former head of the EPA air and radiation office under former President George W. Bush, said Wehrum is the “ideal person to shepherd Administrator Pruitt’s reforms through the regulatory process.”
Environmentalists called on the full Senate to reject the nominees. “All four of these nominees, especially Wehrum and Dourson, would accelerate Scott Pruitt’s mission to dismantle the EPA from the inside,” said Sara Chieffo, vice president for government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.
The other nominees approved by the panel are Matthew Leopold for assistant administrator for the Office of General Counsel, and David Ross, for the Office of Water.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
George Conway runs Twitter poll to let public decide just how ‘dumb & nutty’ Trump is after whistleblower meltdown
George Conway, top Washington, DC lawyer and spouse to senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, couldn't help but take a jab at President Donald Trump's latest tweet.
The president disputed the reports that he made such an absurd promise to a foreign leader that an intelligence officer was forced to file a whistleblower complaint. The Inspector General also found the complaint worthy of escalation and the information became public.
Fox & Friends host is ‘so glad’ Trump carries wad of cash everywhere: ‘It reminds me of my dad’
Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt on Thursday lauded President Donald Trump's practice of carrying around a pocket full of cash.
While boarding Air Force One, the president was photographed with $20 bills in his back pocket. He was later asked why he still carried cash as president.
“I don’t carry a wallet because I haven’t had to use a credit card in a long time,” Trump later explained. “I do like leaving tips to the hotel. I like to carry a little something. I like to give tips to the hotel. I’m telling you, maybe a president’s not supposed to do it, but I like to leave a tip for the hotel, et cetera, et cetera.”
New video emerges of Canada’s Trudeau wearing blackface makeup
New images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface makeup emerged on Canadian television Thursday, throwing his floundering re-election bid into further disarray.
Released by broadcaster Global News, and confirmed to AFP by his campaign as being Trudeau "in the early 1990s," the footage depicts the Liberal leader in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, his arms up and dark makeup on his face.
Late Wednesday, Trudeau apologized after Time magazine published a photograph of him wearing dark makeup at a party 18 years ago.
He also admitted to wearing similar makeup in his teens when he sang Harry Belafonte's 1956 hit "Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" at a high school talent contest.