With Cost-Benefits Memo, Wheeler Tries to Institutionalize Allowing Polluters to Poison People


Brian Willis: 202.675.2386, Brian.Willis@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, media outlets reported that former coal lobbyist and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a memo to several EPA offices, directing them to change how they calculate cost and benefits for environmental protection in an effort to undercut the agency’s use of peer reviewed science in the development of new rules. This change would dramatically minimize accounting for the deadly effects of pollution on public health when it comes to analyzing changes to air and water safeguards. Already, Wheeler has proposed changing calculations at EPA on how public health is affected by his Dirty Power Plan in an effort by the Trump Administration to hide a potential increased death toll of 1,400 Americans every year.  

In response, Mary Anne Hitt, Senior Director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, released the following statement:  

“Cover-ups like these are what happens when you put a coal lobbyist in charge of the EPA. For decades, the fossil fuel industry has amorally done everything it could to hide and trivialize scientific findings that proved their pollution is poisoning and killing people for fear that justice would be done and they’d be held accountable. Inevitably, the truth is revealed and the public rightly is outraged by their greed and callous indifference to human life. Wheeler is now trying to institutionalize this dangerous, amoral polluter trend at the EPA and we will not stand for it.

“Our environmental laws specifically dictate a reliance on science, not polluter profits, because the American people demand that  the health of our communities is put before the health of a coal companies balance sheet. That’s why we will fight Wheeler’s dangerous agenda in the courts, in the hearing rooms, and in the streets."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.