Senator Alexander Meets with EPA Administrator Nominee Andrew Wheeler

Posted on January 28, 2019

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WASHINGTON, January 28, 2019— United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after meeting with Andrew Wheeler — President Trump’s nominee to become the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

"I met today with Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and emphasized to him my strong support of the 2012 Mercury Rule - which requires power plants to install pollution control equipment to reduce emissions of mercury and hazardous air pollutants in order to keep our air, waters and streams clean – and my strong desire to keep the rule in place without any changes. The Mercury Rule is vital to protect the health of our children and families. I told Mr. Wheeler that I strongly oppose any action that could lead to the undoing of the Mercury Rule.”  

“Just 16 years ago, the Great Smoky Mountains had become the ‘Great Smoggy Mountains’ – on the clearest of days, you could only see for around 50 miles in the Smokies, and less than 10 miles on a hazy day. Today, partially as a result of federal pollution controls and the Mercury Rule, you can see over 90 miles on the clearest days, and on the haziest days, visibility has improved to over 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 and visibility is continuing to improve in the park.

“I have always thought that operating a coal-fired power plant without air pollution control equipment was like driving at night without the lights on. We have the equipment to reduce emissions of toxic air, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has proved that you can burn coal in a clean way if you will simply put on pollution control equipment for mercury, nitrogen, and sulfur.”

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (the Mercury Rule) was finalized in February 2012 to reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from power plants. In June 2012, Alexander voted to support the Mercury Rule on the Senate floor. In December, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule that could lead to the undoing of the Mercury Rule.



Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.