The men who now control Trump’s Environmental Policy used to be lobbyists who worked for the big corporations that polluted America the most.
Among 20 of the most powerful people in government environment jobs, almost all of them have ties to the fossil fuel industry or they have fought against the regulations they now are supposed to enforce.
15 of these people came from careers in the oil, gas, coal, chemical or agriculture industries, while another three are from state governments that have spent years resisting environmental regulations. At least four have direct ties to the Koch brothers, who have spent millions of dollars to defeat climate change and clean energy measures.
Here are three examples of such men.
Andrew R. Wheeler is the head of the E.P.A, our main agency to protect our environment. Wheeler used to be a fossil fuel lobbyist. He is now in charge of regulating the fossil fuel industry. As a lobbyist, Mr. Wheeler represented an electric utility, a uranium producer and, most significantly, a coal magnate. This coal baron paid Mr. Wheeler’s lobbying firm $2.7 million over eight years to loosen restrictions on coal companies. Mr. Wheeler’s job now is to enforce clean air and water laws. During his time in office, he has rolled back regulations and made it easier for highly polluting coal plants to keep operating.
Peter Wright is the head of land management and emergency environmental clean up for our government. Previously he represented Dow Chemical in Dow’s fight to avoid the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites. He now oversees E.P.A.’s Superfund cleanup program. Mr. Wright spent 19 years as an attorney at Dow, one of the world’s largest chemical makers. He fought to lessen Dow’s responsibility to contribute to the cleanup of a toxic waste site in Midland, Mich. Mr. Wright now oversees the E.P.A.’s ongoing cleanup of thousands of Superfund sites, as well as emergency response and waste programs.
David Bernhardt is the head of the Department of the Interior. He is our caretaker for all federals lands like National Parks. He is a former lobbyist for oil, gas and farming interests. He now oversees all federal land and natural resource use. He was a former lobbyist for oil and gas companies including Halliburton, Cobalt International Energy, Samson Resources, and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Mr. Bernhardt leads the Interior Department, overseeing millions of acres of federal land and waterways. Under his tenure, the agency has weakened protections for endangered species, rolled back regulations on methane fought by the oil and gas industries, and weakened protections for fish in order to divert water to California farmers.
All of these men were appointed by the Trump administration.
The information and many of the words for this article came from the New York Times essay below.