Trump's EPA Defies Court Order to Regulate Contaminant Linked to Infant Brain Damage Because It's 'Not in the Public Interest'
Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Donald Trump is widely criticized for its reluctance to protect the environment.
In its latest move, current EPA head Andrew Wheeler—a former coal lobbyist—will ignore a court-ordered June deadline to establish a safe drinking-water standard in regards to the chemical perchlorate.
The toxic substance related to the production of rocket fuel was the subject of a 2011 Obama administration decision. While the Trump EPA will still recognize that the substance causes brain damage and birth defects, they won't attempt to mitigate its impact.
According to the New York Times, Wheeler's agency is slated to send a notice to the White House stating that, while perchlorate is a danger to fetuses and infants, regulating it is "not in the public interest." Research showed perchlorate interferes with the thyroid gland's iodine uptake, impacting hormones associated with the development of fetuses, infants, and children.
The highest concentrations of perchlorate in the United States are on and around military installations. The biggest lobbyists pushing to keep the chemical compound unregulated are defense contractors involved in the aerospace industry like Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman.
The latest EPA rollback was not unexpected.
SCOOP: Last year EPA proposed a limit for perchlorate in water 3-6 times higher than what scientists recommend. Ne… https://t.co/eUVn1K7hNO— Lisa Friedman (@Lisa Friedman) 1589473750.0
Since Trump took office in 2017, the primary focus of the EPA has been removing environmental protections in favor of fossil fuels production, mining and manufacturing.
The Environmental Protection Agency will not regulate perchlorate, a water contaminant that "has been linked to fet… https://t.co/acQEp1rAuF— CNN (@CNN) 1589497625.0
While big business may again applaud the Trump administration plan, people who value the health and welfare of children over the profits of defense contractors are calling the decision another reason to not vote for Trump.
Another Obama EPA regulation reversed! Trump is banning limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that cont… https://t.co/NoALLujiXg— Socially Distant Elaine in Carolina (@Socially Distant Elaine in Carolina) 1589479294.0
may they drink rocket fuel at every meal yo, even back when i was a baby toxicology grad student, the evidence on… https://t.co/zA5fKKX0AW— The Raven of Wroclaw (@The Raven of Wroclaw) 1589479840.0
BREAKING: In 2011, the Obama administration's @EPA found perchlorate, a rocket fuel chemical that contaminates drin… https://t.co/XVpmCLb07l— Democratic Coalition (@Democratic Coalition) 1589491215.0
Today, @EPAAWheeler announced the agency will not regulate perchlorate, an industrial chemical that contaminates dr… https://t.co/OcZAoLV2fa— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club) 1589494595.0
❌chlorpyrifos ❌asbestos and now, ❌perchlorate @realDonaldTrump & @EPAAWheeler's failure to keep these harmful chem… https://t.co/N91BLcYe42— Western Values Project (@Western Values Project) 1589495292.0
Insane! The #Trump administration will not impose any limits on perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound that contami… https://t.co/KdHQ8rUMUU— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@Robert F. Kennedy Jr) 1589475038.0
The EPA has said since last year it is considering four options for dealing with perchlorate contamination in drink… https://t.co/ih2cwgrA1f— KSNV News 3 (@KSNV News 3) 1589498444.0
Trump admin proves once again they're NOT pro-life. Decision by EPA's Andrew Wheeler, to not impose limits on per… https://t.co/zqXOLzlXrg— KrisS 🔥 Your Vote, Your Voice 🔥 (@KrisS 🔥 Your Vote, Your Voice 🔥) 1589487749.0
A pediatrics group urged the "strongest possible" limits of perchlorate in drinking water, because it damages the d… https://t.co/IsOJD8WG67— KUTV2news (@KUTV2news) 1589498311.0
Groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council and pediatric advocates vow to fight the decision.
BREAKING: @EPAAWheeler & Trump’s @EPA are choosing NOT to regulate #perchlorate, a dangerous chemical linked to fet… https://t.co/giSKPNIgpJ— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC 🌎🏡) 1589475399.0
As NRDC’s Erik Olson says via @NYTimes: “Not only is @EPA acting in defiance of a court order and the law, it’s set… https://t.co/A0xlUyC5Nr— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC 🌎🏡) 1589475400.0
Perchlorate is a component of rocket fuel, munitions, and fireworks. In 2011, Obama’s EPA determined the chemical r… https://t.co/7Liz348frg— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC 🌎🏡) 1589475400.0
Learn more about perchlorate and @EPA’s latest reckless decision from NRDC’s Erik Olson: https://t.co/4BVB8CtUPC— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC 🌎🏡) 1589475400.0
"@EPA’s cynical decision to defy a court order and the law, and to ignore the science that dictates a strong perchl… https://t.co/ic2S9U98E6— NRDC 🌎🏡 (@NRDC 🌎🏡) 1589491704.0
@NRDC @EPAAWheeler @EPA Humanity deserves better than the poisoning of children but then again the @GOP has been k… https://t.co/PluMf8BFoK— Alexandria B. (@Alexandria B.) 1589492210.0
A spokesperson from the EPA says the decision will first be sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Mick Mulvaney was in charge of OMB until March 31, 2020 while also serving as the acting White House Chief of Staff.
A falling out of favor with Trump—after contradicting him several times over the White House pandemic response and other issues—lead to Mulvaney being picked to fill a position Trump had left vacant since his inauguration. On May 1, 2020 Mulvaney became the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.
He was replaced at OMB by Russell Vought who was picked by Trump from the Heritage Action conservative policy advocacy organization. Heritage Action works with extremely controversial sister organization The Heritage Foundation.
The EPA can expect no pushback from Vought's OMB on any deregulation efforts.
The book The Plot to Betray America: How Team Trump Embraced Our Enemies, Compromised Our Security, and How We Can Fix It is available here.