Left Leaning EPA ADMINISTRATORS UNITE

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Four former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, criticizing the agency’s direction under the Trump administration and imploring Congress to return it to its mission.

“I’m here for one reason and one reason only. And it’s not to weep about all my precious rules being rolled back. Though I admit that the constant roll-back is beginning to tick me off a bit,” said Gina McCarthy, in her first appearance before Congress since heading the EPA under former President Obama.

“I’m here to remind the political leadership at the EPA that what they do matters, and it’s time for them to step up and do their jobs. Just do your jobs. Right now, this administration is trying to systemically undo health protections by running roughshod over the law.”

McCarthy joined Republican counterparts spanning the Reagan to George W. Bush administrations. Their appearance comes after they sent a letter to various members of Congress offering the help of former EPA staff, who, concerned about the direction of the agency, formed an association — The Environmental Protection Network.

The four former cabinet secretaries say the agency is reversing course and endangering human health along the way.

“Today, as never before, the mission of EPA is being seriously undermined by the very people who have been entrusted with carrying that mission out,” Christine Todd Whitman, who headed the agency under former President George W. Bush, said in her opening remarks. She pointed to a retreat from science, the influence of regulated industries, a disinterest in addressing climate change and a lack of a focus on public health as areas for concern.

“This unprecedented attack on science-based regulations designed to protect the environment and public health represents the gravest threat to the effectiveness of the EPA — and to the federal government’s overall ability to do the same — in the nation’s history,” she said.

The EPA has faced a number of controversies under the Trump administration, ranging from ethical issues tied to former Administrator Scott Pruitt, to ignoring scientists both inside and outside the agency, to accusations it is rolling back regulations to favor industry.

That has spurred a growing response from a number of current and former employees of the agency, including the ex-administrators.

“I’ve never had a situation where four former EPA administrations, three Republicans and one Democrat…would come in and sounds the alarm the way they did today,” Rep. Dianna DeGette (D-Colo.) said of her tenure on the committee.

Read more about the hearing here

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