At Least 146 Administration Officials Tied to Toxic Industry
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has staffed White House agencies with lobbyists, lawyers and former employees from the chemical industry and its allies.
“Trump’s Chemical Romance,” a new Public Citizen report, identified a total of 146 high-ranking Trump administration officials who have ties to the corporate coalition pushing to undo the Obama-era Chemical Disaster Rule. However the actual total undoubtedly is higher.
In an effort to delay and weaken the Chemical Disaster Rule, groups representing chemical and petrochemical corporations, along with allies affiliated with coal-fired power plants, paper mills and corporate groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, formed an alliance called the RMP Coalition, named for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Risk Management Program,” the formal name for the rule.
The RMP Coalition successfully petitioned former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to delay and weaken the rule, which has a comment period deadline of Aug. 23.
The 146 administration members with conflicting ties to the RMP Coalition, and the industry sectors its corporate coalition members represent, includes 57 appointees with connections to the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s primary corporate coalition, and 92 appointees with ties to the chemical and petrochemical industries, including Dow Chemical Co., Arkema Inc., BP, Chevron Corp. and Koch Industries.
“Corporate insiders with chemical conflicts have contaminated the Trump administration,” said Stephanie Thomas, Ph.D., an organizer with Public Citizen’s Texas Office. “The polluter-friendly regulatory rollback Trump’s EPA is seeking is a disaster for the public and first responders.”
Those 16 conflicted EPA officials are especially noteworthy. They include:
• Nancy Beck, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, who for five years was an executive at the American Chemistry Council.
• Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who worked for International Paper Company — a member of the American Forest and Paper Association, an RMP Coalition member — and is a former registered lobbyist for fossil fuel corporations Murray Energy and Xcel Energy.
• William Wehrum, the EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation, who provided legal services to four of the seven RMP Coalition members: American Forest and Paper Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute, and Utility Air Regulatory Group.
• Patrick Traylor, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, who provided legal services to the American Petroleum Institute (an RMP Coalition member) as well as API member Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling.
• Peter Wright, Trump’s nominee to become assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management, who was a senior lawyer with Dow Chemical Co. for 19 years.