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E&E Publishes Hogwash Misleading Story

02/01/2019
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screenshot of E&E News article

Today, E&E News published an incredibly misleading story on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, claiming he has not carried out his ethics obligations because colleagues from his former firm communicated with EPA officials PRIOR to Wheeler's nomination or confirmation. They also present misleading insinuations that Wheeler has not lived up to his ethics obligations with no evidence. To be clear, Acting Administrator Wheeler has and will continue to follow his recusal statement and EPA career ethics officials guidance. 

Clicks are more important than facts for E&E News in their latest ploy by implying guilt by association constitutes a story. 

Misleading: "Wheeler's ex-firm lobbied agency on efforts he oversees" and that Acting Administrator Wheeler's former firm communicated with EPA officials on "two specific (Superfund) sites and one rulemaking — all of which Wheeler hasn't recused himself from working on." 

Reality: The communication that E&E News cites occurred in July 2017, nearly four months prior to his nomination to become Deputy Administrator and nearly 10 months prior to his confirmation as Deputy Administrator. E&E News incorrectly implies that because Acting Administrator Wheeler is now at EPA, his former firm's previous attempts to contact the Agency are retroactively prohibited.  

Misleading: E&E News claimed EPA acted on repealing an Obama-era proposal regarding cleanup of uranium mines at the behest of Energy Fuels Resources.

Reality: The Obama-era proposal was submitted on the last day of the Obama administration, and EPA lacks the statutory authority to act on this proposal. Furthermore, the communications E&E News cite occurred a full six months before Wheeler was nominated for the deputy administrator. 

Continuing Bias: This isn’t the first time E&E has misreported on this subject. In a July 2018 story, E&E News was forced to make a correction regarding Acting Administrator Wheeler’s ethics obligations.