RELEASE: Environmental Leaders Demand Delay of Wheeler Confirmation Hearing Until Shutdown Ends

Washington, D.C. — Today, the leaders of nine major environmental and public health organizations delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) demanding a postponement of Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation hearing until President Donald Trump’s wasteful government shutdown has ended.

On January 9—the 18th day of President Trump’s unnecessary government shutdown–Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, was officially nominated to serve as administrator of the EPA. Within just a few hours, Sen. Barrasso announced Wheeler’s confirmation hearing for Wednesday, January 26.

In the letter, leaders note that the shutdown has put more than 800,000 Americans out of work and millions more in financial jeopardy:

“It is profoundly unfair for Mr. Wheeler to audition for a promotion to lead an agency while the entire agency workforce is locked out and denied their paychecks, making it difficult to pay their bills and mortgages and provide for their families.”

The leaders also highlighted how Wheeler’s toxic agenda makes him unfit to serve as EPA administrator. Throughout his time as acting EPA administrator, Wheeler has consistently put the needs of polluters ahead of individuals and families.

Signatories to the letter include: League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski; National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara; Natural Resources Defense Council President Rhea Suh, Union of Concerned Scientists President Ken Kimmell; Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune; Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen; Center for American Progress Founder and Director John Podesta; Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp; and Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at , or 202-478-6327.