Environmental Protection Agency

Bill Wehrum is stepping down as the Environmental Protection Agency's chief air quality official at the end of the month, amid mounting scrutiny over possible ethics violations.

EPA Administrator Andrew Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday that Wehrum's departure as the head of the agency's Office of Air and Radiation is both voluntary and expected.

Scott Pruitt, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and his staff spent roughly $124,000 in excessive travel costs during a ten-month period, according to a new report from EPA's internal watchdog.

Several members of a powerful science panel for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed doubt at a hearing Thursday about the long-established scientific consensus that air pollution can cause premature death.

The panel was meeting to consider recommendations that would fundamentally change how the agency analyzes the public health dangers posed by air pollution and could lead to weaker regulation of soot.

Pollution, much like wealth, is not distributed equally in the United States.

Scientists and policymakers have long known that black and Hispanic Americans tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution of all kinds, than white Americans. And because pollution exposure can cause a range of health problems, this inequity could be a driver of unequal health outcomes across the U.S.

Eric Perez and his wife, Mari, live with their five children in the Wenatchee Valley in central Washington state. Their house is just feet from an orchard. A couple of years ago, the kids were having an Easter egg hunt in the yard when they smelled something "plasticky," Perez remembers — like "rotten eggs."

Perez says they realized the orchard must have been sprayed while the family was away for their Easter lunch.

Perez says they got stomachaches, started throwing up and having trouble breathing and got diarrhea and scratchy throats.

Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who has been serving as the acting EPA administrator since July, faced Senate lawmakers on Wednesday for his first confirmation hearing to lead the agency.

He defended his record on rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations as Democrats assailed his ties to business and his lack of urgency on the issue of climate change.

"The Trump Administration has proven that burdensome environmental regulations are not necessary to drive environmental progress," Wheeler said. "I am very proud of the work I did."

When we set out to try to look back on the year that was in politics, we started with a list that grew ... and grew ... and grew. After a couple of days, the list was just shy of 100 news events. That's about one notable story every three days.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

The proposal, announced Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, would change the EPA's definition of "waters of the United States," or WOTUS, limiting the types of waterways that fall under federal protection to major waterways, their tributaries, adjacent wetlands and a few other categories.

The Trump administration plans to eliminate an Obama-era requirement that new coal-fired power plants have expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Kenneth Wagner, a senior official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with close personal and business ties to ousted EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, will serve as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Energy and Environment, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt’s transition team said Wednesday.

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