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EPA Employees Are Livid Over Youngkin’s Pick for Virginia’s Top Climate Post – Mother Jones


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EPA Employees Are Livid Over Youngkin’s Pick for Virginia’s Top Climate Post – Mother Jones


During Wheeler’s tenure, the EPA scrubbed climate change language from the agency’s website. And Wheeler questioned the results of a sobering federal climate assessment, saying some of its findings were “based on the worst-case scenario.”

Owens Powell was surprised that Youngkin tapped Wheeler for the job given what she felt was a clear and well-documented record at the EPA. If he’s confirmed, she fears he will not only cause similar damage in Virginia, but negatively impact the EPA’s ability to collaborate with the state agency, ultimately making it more difficult to confront climate change and other environmental threats.

“I couldn’t imagine that anyone would have thought he would be a good idea for this position.”

“I couldn’t imagine that anyone would have thought he would be a good idea for this position,” she told HuffPost by phone. “It’s ​​AFGE Council 238’s sincere hope that someone in a position of authority will stand up for sound science and the enforcement of corresponding environmental laws and reject this nomination.”

Youngkin’s office did not respond to specific questions Thursday, instead referring HuffPost to an interview the governor did with WTVR-TV in Richmond last week in which he called Wheeler “the most qualified person for this job.”

A former private equity executive, Youngkin is the first Republican governor of Virginia since 2009. One of his first actions after being sworn in Jan. 15 was to sign an executive order aimed at withdrawing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program that several states joined to slash greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

It’s a move that Wheeler, who defended Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement, would no doubt approve of, and one Owens Powell suspects Wheeler’s fingerprints are on. Wheeler was a member of Youngkin’s transition team.

The EPA union’s letter comes less than a week after more than 150 former EPA staffers urged Virginia state lawmakers to vote down Wheeler’s nomination. In their own letter, the group…



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