Posted on February 28, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 28, 2019 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote to confirm Andrew Wheeler to serve as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“I emphasized to Mr. Wheeler in a meeting in January my strong support for the EPA’s 2012 Mercury Rule - which protects the health of children and families and keeps air and water clean by requiring coal power plants to install pollution control equipment to reduce emissions of mercury and hazardous air pollutants. I told him that I will not support any efforts that might jeopardize the Mercury Rule.
“The Mercury Rule has helped to reduce the pollution that had led the Great Smoky Mountains to become the ‘Great Smoggy Mountains.’ When I came to the senate 16 years ago, on the clearest of days, you could only see for around 50 miles in the Smokies. You could see less than 10 miles on a hazy day. Today, partially as a result of federal pollution controls including the Mercury Rule, you can see more than 90 miles on the clearest days, and on the haziest days, visibility has improved to more than 30 miles. While that’s still less than the natural visibility of 150 miles on the clearest days and 90 miles on the haziest days, we’ve made great improvements in the last two decades. Visibility is continuing to improve in the park.”
Wheeler’s nomination was confirmed by the full Senate today by a vote of 52 to 47.
Alexander met with Wheeler on January 28, 2019.