Democratic senators tell DC Court that fossil fuel industry has infiltrated EPA and are dictating its policies

  • Published on May 6th, 2020

The Senators filed a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a lawsuit that challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s pathetic replacement of the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan designed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Short version: the replacement plan will mean many more deaths and ailments will afflict people than would have been the casse under the Obama plan.

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By Meteor Blades

The lawsuit was brought by the American Lung Association, with support from several state governments, environmental organizations, and 70 members of Congress.

Five Democratic senators filed the brief:

  • Sheldon Whitehouse
  • Ed Markey
  • Jeff Merkley
  • Brian Schatz
  • Kirsten Gillibrand

It states that leading EPA officials supposed to regulate the fossil fuel industry have strong ties to it and are pushing policy favorable to it. As Dana Drugmund at DeSmog writes,

“Within this context, the senators argue that no court could possibly conclude that EPA is engaged in reasoned, unbiased decision-making.

“… The process of repealing and replacing the Clean Power Plan began under Pruitt’s leadership at EPA, and continued with his successor Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler was a top lobbyist for dirty energy interests, including coal company Murray Energy. In lobbying for Murray, Wheeler earned nearly $3 million for his lobbying firm. Repealing the Clean Power Plan was at the top of Murray CEO Bob Murray’s wish list that he circulated among the new Trump administration.

“Another chief architect of the Clean Power Plan replacement was Bill Wehrum, former head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. He resigned in June 2019 amid a congressional investigation into his contact with former industry clients. Prior to assuming his EPA position, Wehrum was an attorney representing fossil fuel companies and trade groups. His clients included big names like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Koch Industriesthe American Petroleum InstituteAmerican Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, Duke Energy, Dominion Resources, and Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG). “Wehrum met with UARG and several electric utilities to discuss replacing the [Clean Power Plan] just weeks after he assumed his duties as Assistant Administrator,” the senators’ brief points out.”

(Crossposted with DailyKos. Photo by Joe Peischi for NOAA)

About the Author

Meteor Blades is a writer and contributing editor at DailyKos. He believes there is something profoundly wrong with our system. - the unchecked accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a very small group of corporate business interests has contributed to the wholesale corruption of our political system. For an understanding about the level of corruption in our country, he encourages you to view these two PBS documentaries: (1). ,The Untouchables; (2) The United States of ALEC.
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