WASHINGTON – 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 strong opposition to the nomination of Bill Wehrum to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation – a position to which Mr. Wehrum was nominated in 2005, but failed to win Senate confirmation because his views were too far outside the mainstream. Senator Carper highlighted Mr. Wehrum’s prior work at EPA to undermine clean air protections, disregard the rule of law and actively prevent progress to reign in mercury and other toxic air pollutants. Despite Mr. Wehrum’s dangerous record, Senate Republicans voted to confirm Mr. Wehrum by a vote of 49 to 47. Every Democrat, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), voted against Mr. Wehrum’s nomination.
Below are excerpts from Senator Carper’s closing statement. Senator Carper also spoke earlier in the day on Mr. Wehrum’s previous work at EPA to undermine rules to cut mercury and other toxic air pollutants. Last night, Senator Carper spoke on Mr. Wehrum’s record, including his work suing the EPA on behalf of his industry clients and fighting against critical worker safety protections.
“Mr. President, as we prepare to vote on this nominee, I implore my colleagues to take one last moment to think about the decision before them. I ask them to recall the words I said just a bit earlier this morning from that hymn my wife, Martha, and I heard at church one Sunday morning this spring: ‘For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies. Lord of all, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.’
“That powerful message reminds me of the incredible responsibility we have in this body to serve and protect the people who sent us here. We must serve as stewards also of this planet that has been entrusted to us and care for the most vulnerable among us. For me, that is not just my responsibility as a parent or as an official elected to serve the people of my state for all these years – it is a moral imperative and a sacred obligation. And there is perhaps no more basic human need than having clean air to breathe.
“I implore my colleagues – we have already seen Mr. Wehrum’s extreme agenda at the EPA once before. It would be the height of irresponsibility and a shirking of our moral obligation to confirm him here today. I implore you – join me in voting no on Bill Wehrum.”
You can view Senator Carper’s floor statements here: