BY MICHAEL WILNER
SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 03:33 PM
President Donald Trump’s top environment official acknowledges the growing risks posed by climate change – but blames Congress for restricting the administration’s ability to respond.
Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, told McClatchy in an interview this week that the Trump administration is “statutorily” limited by Congress to respond to Americans’ reliance on fossil fuels, amid its protracted campaign to roll back regulations on earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions put in place by former President Barack Obama.
As world leaders gathered at the United Nations to discuss action plans to address the perils facing a warming Earth, Wheeler said he agreed that changes in climate pose risks to the nation.
But the EPA chief said he would not speak for Trump on climate policy, a topic the president omitted from his speech to world leaders on Tuesday despite heightened focus on the crisis this week at the U.N. General Assembly.
“I’m not going to speak for the administration on that,” Wheeler said. “Just from my own perspective, as the administrator of the EPA, I believe that climate change is happening and I believe that man has an impact on climate.”
“I believe also that we’re very limited at the agency in terms of our statutory authorities to address the issue,” Wheeler continued. “So what we’re trying to do is address the issue with the authorities that Congress has given us.”