Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor, on the need to confirm Bill Wehrum to serve as assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“President Trump has been in office now for more than nine months.
“He has laid out his agenda to cut punishing regulations, to grow the economy, and to help hard-working Americans.
“President Trump’s administration has already taken important steps to roll back the regulatory rampage of the last eight years.
“During the last administration, the Environmental Protection Agency issued harmful and punishing overreaching regulations that hurt workers in my home state of Wyoming.
“According to the Chamber of Commerce, from 2008 to 2016, the EPA issued regulations that cost our economy over $60 billion each year.
“Significantly more than any other federal agencies.
“These rules had real-life impacts.
“The Obama administration’s so-called Clean Power Plan would have closed power plants and cost America jobs.
“Mr. President, we can have both clean air and a growing economy. We have proven it.
“My goal is to make American energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without raising costs on families.
“President Trump shares that goal.
“That’s why EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has led the charge in cutting red tape.
“The EPA has taken important steps to roll back the Clean Power Plan – and other punishing EPA regulations.
“It is interesting, the annual cost of high impact rules by agency 2008 to 2016. 13 rules from the EPA, in the red right here, billions and billions.
“Over 60 billion dollars.
“Administrator Pruitt needs his full leadership team in place at the agency to complete the task.
“Today, the Senate will consider the nomination of Bill Wehrum.
“He has been nominated to serve as EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.
“Mr. Wehrum has more than three decades of experience in environmental policy.
“He has worked as an environmental engineer, a public servant at the EPA, and as an environmental lawyer.
“His time at the EPA includes two years of service as the acting administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation. The same office he has now been nominated to lead.
“EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation is critically important division within the agency.
“It develops national programs, policies, and regulations for limiting air pollution and radiation exposure.
“One of the responsibilities for this office is implementing the Clean Air Act and it is a big job.
“Mr. President, here you have a chart that shows that most of the EPA regulatory burdens come from EPA air regulations.
“94.5 percent from the office of Air and Radiation regulatory burden in 20014.
“Only 5.5 percent from all other EPA regulatory burden of that same year.
“Under the Obama administration, the air office was also one of the biggest regulatory abusers.
“According to the Office of Management and Budget, the EPA’s Air regulations were responsible for 95 percent of the cost of the agency’s regulations.
“Now Mr. Wehrum is going to play a key role in undoing this red tape.
“The American people need a qualified leader in the EPA Air office.
“Bill Wehrum is the right man for the job.
“Don’t take my word for it.
“Former environmental Obama Justice official John Cruden said this of Mr. Wehrum: he said ‘I believe he is committed to achieving clean air for all citizens and carefully following sound and current science.’
“Marcus Peacock, an EPA deputy administrator during the Bush Administration, praised Mr. Wehrum saying his ‘understanding of the Clean Air Act may be second to none. His desire to pull up his sleeves and actually make the Clean Air Act work as a practical matter is second to none.’
“Mr. Wehrum’s expertise and experience will be tremendously helpful as he pursues policies that will protect America’s air, undo regulatory overreach, and allow our economy to grow.
“I urge all Senators to vote for cloture in Mr. Wehrum’s nomination.”