Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nominee to head EPA's Clean Air office appears before Senate confirmation panel

Newscast: Nominee to head EPA's Clean Air office appears before Senate confirmation panel
Marketplace Morning Report

April 5, 2006

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS, anchor: The nominee to head the nation's top clean air regulator appears before a Senate confirmation panel today. A major dust-up is expected.

MARKETPLACE's Scott Tong explains why.

SCOTT TONG reporting: William Wehrum is acting director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air office. Two years ago, that office was drafting rules on mercury emissions for power plants. Industry lobbying firm Latham & Watkins submitted its own proposal. Wehrum used to work there.

Mr. FRANK O'DONNELL: Several paragraphs of the Latham & Watkins language appeared virtually verbatim in the EPA rule.

TONG: Frank O'Donnell is with Clean Air Watch.

Mr. O'DONNELL: So the company clearly had a direct pipeline to the rule writers.

TONG: Wehrum denied any involvement in the copying and pasting incident. But environmentalists also tie him to two other EPA actions: a draft plan to ease toxic emissions rules and an effort to exempt coal-fired plants from having to install clean air technology. Wehrum defenders say his office has limited diesel and sulphur pollution. In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for MARKETPLACE.

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