William Wehrum

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William L. Wehrum
Bill Wehrum official photo.jpg
Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for Air and Radiation
Assumed office
November 20, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Personal details
Political partyRepublican
EducationPurdue University
Widener University School of Law

William L. Wehrum is an American attorney, lobbyist and government official who currently serves as Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for Air and Radiation. Prior to assuming his current role, he was a partner and the head of the administrative law group at Hunton & Williams where he lobbied on behalf on major industrial companies and advocated for looser environmental regulations.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Wehrum served two years as the EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation during the administration of George W. Bush.[3] He was nominated by President Bush in 2006 to become Assistant Administrator of the EPA for Air and Radiation, but his nomination was blocked by Senate Democrats.[4]

According to The New York Times, "Wehrum worked for the better part of a decade to weaken air pollution rules by fighting the Environmental Protection Agency in court on behalf of chemical manufacturers, refineries, oil drillers and coal-burning power plants."[1] Wehrum's clients have included Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Brick Industry Association and the Utility Air Regulatory Group.[1] While in the Trump administration, Vehrum pushed for rollbacks of environmental regulations at the EPA, while he according to the New York Times "at times continued to interact with former clients, despite an ethics rule that prohibits former industry lawyers and lobbyists from meeting with former clients in private settings to discuss government-related matters for two years."[1]

The House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation on April 11th, 2019 into whether Wehrum has improperly aided his former industry clients since joining the administration. [5] The Committee is investigating the Air Regulatory Group (UARG), "a secretive front group funded by utility companies and devoted to rolling back Clean Air Act (CAA) regulations," asking for more information on how the committee operates and whether Wehrum is continuing to "illicitly serve" his old client in his new capacity at EPA. [6]

In addition to his work to change how EPA calculates the number of deaths attributed to fine particulate matter,[7] Wehrum has been reported as instrumental in a proposal released in 2018 to "dramatically weaken a major environmental regulation covering mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants."[8] Exposure to mercury, even in small amounts, may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of babies and fetuses.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "As Trump Dismantles Clean Air Rules, an Industry Lawyer Delivers for Ex-Clients". Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  2. ^ "Top EPA Presidential Nominees Approved By Senate EPW Committee". The White House. October 25, 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  3. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration". The White House. September 8, 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  4. ^ Cama, Timothy (September 10, 2017). "Trump riles Dems with pick for powerful EPA job". The Hill. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  5. ^ Eilpern, Juliet (April 11, 2019). "House panel launches probe of EPA's air policy chief". The Washington Post. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  6. ^ House Committee on Energy and Commerce (April 11, 2019). "E&C LEADERS LAUNCH INVESTIGATION OF SECRETIVE FRONT GROUP UARG AND ITS TIES TO EPA OFFICIALS". House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  7. ^ Friedman, Lisa (May 20, 2019). "E.P.A. Plans to Get Thousands of Deaths Off the Books by Changing Its Math". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  8. ^ Davenport, Coral (September 30, 2018). "Trump Administration Prepares a Major Weakening of Mercury Emissions Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  9. ^ World Health Organization (March 31, 2017). "Mercury and health". World Health Organization. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

External links[edit]