EPA Sued for Records of Andrew Wheeler Meetings With Oil Lobbyists

Andrew Wheeler

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth sued the Environmental Protection Agency today for refusing to release public records concerning meetings and communications with the lobbying firm Faegre Baker Daniels, the former employer of EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“Wheeler is crippling environmental protections that inconvenience his old clients,” said Bill Snape, the Center’s senior counsel. “The public needs to know what happened between Wheeler’s former employer and the environmental agency he’s now running into the ground. We seem to have another fox guarding the henhouse.”

Today’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Before joining the EPA, Wheeler worked for almost a decade at Faegre Baker Daniels, where he lobbied for the fossil fuel industry against environmental protections. Wheeler promised to avoid conflicts of interests with his former clients during his Senate confirmation.

“Andrew Wheeler is continuing Scott Pruitt’s toxic, polluter-friendly agenda at the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Lukas Ross, a senior policy analyst at Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know just how much power Wheeler’s lobbyist friends have over the EPA. This lawsuit will help expose the dangerous influence of corporate polluters and root out corruption at the EPA.”

Under Wheeler the EPA has moved to weaken a wide range of environmental protections, including a proposal last month to gut a 2016 rule curbing methane pollution from oil and gas facilities.

The Center and FOE filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the EPA about meetings and communications with the oil industry in Spring 2018. In October 2018 the groups notified the agency that it’s in violation of the Act. Seven months have passed, and the agency has failed to release detailed records.

4 comments

  1. From COUNTERPUNCH

    The Secret History of the EPA (excerpts)
    FEBRUARY 24, 2015
    by CAROL VAN STRUM

    The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, documents a culture of fraud and corruption infesting every corner and closet of the agency.

    The EPA, created with much fanfare by Richard Nixon in 1970, was an agency crippled at birth by inadequate funding, political hypocrisy, and laws protecting industry profits above all. Vallianatos points out that one of the fledgling agency’s greatest handicaps was its initial staffing with personnel from USDA, steeped in the religion of corporate agriculture and lethal technologies. With USDA staff came also USDA’s outdated pesticide registrations, which were to be reviewed and reregistered by EPA.

    In 1979, during the seven years of EPA dithering over this scandal, Vallianatos came to work at EPA. He soon learned that not a single pesticide registration was to be canceled due to fraudulent or nonexistent test data. Instead, he notes, EPA’s reaction was to outsource science. It shut down its own testing laboratories, closed its own libraries of toxicity data on thousands of chemicals, and outsourced all evaluations of industry-sponsored studies.

    Poison Spring chronicles some of the consequences of that fraud in an agency snared in its own tangled lies: cover-ups of dioxin levels in drinking water and in dead babies; routine suppression of data linking pesticides to soaring rates of cancer, birth defects, and chronic disease; industry access to everything; “revolving door” administrators serving corporate bosses; political appointees dismantling EPA labs and data libraries to dispose of damaging evidence; the cutting of research funds for nontoxic alternatives; the harsh retribution
    visited on whistleblowers; and ever and again, bureaucrats, with full knowledge of the consequences, setting policies that result in death and suffering. For 25 years, Vallianatos saw and documented it all.

    “Traditional (and often organic) farmers – until seventy-five years ago, the only farmers there were – are slowly beginning to make a comeback. They have always known how to raise crops and livestock without industrial poisons,” Vallianatos points out. “They are the seed for a future harvest of good food, a healthy natural world, and democracy in rural America – and the world.”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/24/the-secret-history-of-the-epa/

    Liked by 3 people

  2. From COUNTERPUNCH

    Sacrificing Children: Pesticides in the Time of Oligarchy
    NOVEMBER 30, 2018
    by EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS

    Oligarchs control medicine, drugs, chemicals, farming and politics. If their products harm children, their lobbyists, scientists and politicians cover up the truth.
    In the United States, this oligarchic control has flooded the country with thousands of chemicals, most of them untested and potentially harmful to life.

    Perro and Adams represent physicians and scientists who are breaking ranks with the agrobusiness-medical-pharmaceutical-government regulatory establishment. They are revealing an open secret that industrialized farming poisons food, which is causing “hard-to-diagnose, intractable, and often debilitating” diseases to children.

    Perro and Adams practice ethical medicine and science. They are right in advocating the banning of the genetic engineering of crops and pesticides, especially organophosphates causing neurological and brain damage.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/11/30/sacrificing-children-pesticides-in-the-time-of-oligarchy/

    Liked by 2 people

  3. HIGH–END LUXURY FURNITURE – $92 MILLION

    FY2008–FY2015 | ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY | On October 1, 2015, our editorial at Forbes titled, “The EPA Spends How Much on Office Furniture? Try $92 Million Over the Past Decade,” revealed $92 million in upscale furniture purchases over a 10-year period at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, we published an OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with further analysis on the agency’s spending records
    https://www.openthebooks.com/the_wall_street_journal__usa_today_100_examples_of_federal_taxpayer_abuse/

    Like

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