WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, spoke on the Senate floor to voice his opposition regarding the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to serve as the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mr. Wheeler’s nomination for second-in-command comes at a time when new evidence of ethical failings regarding the agency’s leader, Administrator Scott Pruitt, is emerging nearly every day. In the past several weeks alone, dozens of news reports have uncovered several cases of wrongdoing by Mr. Pruitt including outrageous personal security expenses, abnormally high travel costs and unusual pay raises to favored members of his staff. Given these troubling revelations, Mr. Wheeler could very well assume the role of Acting Administrator, a position for which he was not vetted during the confirmation process.
Below are excerpts from Senator Carper’s speeches on the Senate floor, as prepared for delivery:
“Just over a year ago, I stood in this very same spot here on the Senate floor to discuss another individual nominated by President Trump to serve at the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt. At the time, I warned my colleagues that Scott Pruitt would pose a serious threat to our clean air, clean water and public health. Unfortunately, with respect to too many of my colleagues, that warning fell on deaf ears. Now in the 15 months since, Scott Pruitt has been even worse than I imagined on a policy front, but also with regard to his consistent ethical lapses and disregard for the American taxpayers.
“Over the last two weeks, we have barely been able to go one day without learning new and increasingly troubling information about the administrator’s failures to conduct himself in the way a public servant working on behalf of the American people should. So, once again, I will warn my colleagues that Scott Pruitt’s behavior should give us pause before we consider another nomination.
“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle can say that I am grandstanding or that this is some effort to score political points. But this is serious. Today we are considering the nominee to serve as the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Andrew Wheeler. The Deputy Administrator is the second in command at the agency. The role of the Deputy Administrator is to assist the Administrator – Scott Pruitt – and oversee the day-to-day operations that help to keep the agency running.
“It is important to know how Andrew Wheeler views the chaos that has engulfed the EPA as of late, most of which is of Scott Pruitt’s own making. After all, the things we have learned about the EPA over the past two weeks gives us a different outlook than when Leader McConnell filed cloture on Wheeler’s nomination just before the Easter recess. And it certainly gives a much different perspective than we had when Andrew Wheeler sat before the Environment and Public Works Committee last year. It’s especially important to learn how Mr. Wheeler would address Mr. Pruitt’s ethical lapses because it is becoming clear that my Republican colleagues have no interest in addressing them.”
You can view Senator Carper’s floor statements here: