tv EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Remarks at National Press Club CSPAN June 3, 2019 11:02pm-12:05am EDT
aspire to it. in that sense i'm a nationalist. i don't want to export it. i want to make it available to people. i want to help them where we can, and we have a lot of experience with the civil society of a democratic society. so i'm a mild nationalist. announcer: watch "afterwards" sunday on book tv on c-span2. announcer: next, epa administrator andrew wheeler talks about his agency's priorities, the steps the u.s. is taking to improve the environment, and what he sees as misreporting about the epa's work under the trump administration. from the national press club, this is an hour. administration.
>> good afternoon. welcome to the national press club. the place where news happens. my name is allison. i'm a correspondent at npr news and i look, president of the national press club. take the appropriate program for you. we invite you to listen, watch or fall along on twitter hashtag and pc live. for those watching us today on c-span or any other program, our audience today consists of members of the press and members of the general public. any applause or other reactions you hear aren't necessarily from the working press. at the to take a moment to introduce our guest at the head table today. to my left, we have phyllis, executive editor, eva congressional correspondent at spectra news. rod, reporter at eat any news.
brian jackson, epa chief of staff and a guest speaker. stepping over the podium, we have lori, president of communications and cochair of the npc headliners team. taking over our speaker for a moment, jennifer and environmental environmental producer. kevin, retired u.s. navy captain, chair of as sc a america and mcc organizer. finally, young, senior editor for the first times in the host of americans leaders. also want to acknowledge some additional members of the national press club who helped organize this luncheon. the other headliners team leader, we have press club sta staff. chef susan who prepared your meal and mcc executive director.
thank you all. [applause] injure was confirmed as a sinister of the environmental protection agency last november. in leaving, he started months earlier when his predecessor resigned in a series of scandals. a long history of agency, his first job in washington was at the epa. where he worked on chemical relation, pollution prevention and right to know is. he went on to serve as staff member and george of ohio. finally, as chief counsel and staff director as the senate for mental public works committee. during that time, working mostly to reduce environmental condition. u.s. capitol hill in 2009 where
he served as a lobbyist one of the biggest clients was the coke company energy. he returned to epa last year when president trump nominated him to become deputy minister and took over when mr. wheeler left. when mr. pruitt left, excuse me. [laughter] he recently told cbs news he things i'm a change is an important issue, the star is too far in the future to focus on today. he said his college around the world should focus on ensuring everyone has access to clean tricking water. we have a lot to talk about this afternoon so please join me in giving the giving them a warm welcome. [applause]
>> afternoon. it's a pleasure to be with you today. thank you allison for the form of welcome and thank you for organizing this lunch. since this is a national press club, i'd be remiss not to use this opportunity to address my friends in the media. every year since 2001, they've conducted pulling on the same question. do you think quality of the environment country is getting better or worse? every year since 2001, more people have said getting worse than getting better, often by large measures. need to fix this perception and we need the help of the press. the public needs to know how far we've come as a nation protecting the averment. to indicators that need more attention. from 1970, 2017, u.s. has reduced the six main criteria pollutants, 73%.
while the economy grew over 260% between 2,002,017, the matter concentrations in the u.s. dropped by roughly 40%. according to the world health organization, the u.s. has some of the lowest matter of us in the world. within five times below the global average seven times below chinese levels well below france, germany, mexico and russia. from 2005 until 2017, reduced its energy related co2 emissions by 14%. in contrast, global energy related co2 emissions have increased over 30%. since 2005. on the waterfront, we've made some progress over the past decades, yes transfer and many of its rivers, lakes and bays from ground to methods of tourism and economic activity. in the 1970s, within 40% of
our patients tricking water systems failed to meet even the most basic health standards. today over 92% of community water systems meet all health -based cinders all the time. i could go on with more stats in progress but my purpose in doing this is not to minimize the alignment of challenges or threats that we face today. the media does a disservice to the public. by not informing the public of the progress the nations made. this progress is a result of many people across the country, state and local governments, citizen group, businesses and even the media. is just as important, the employees of the epa. next year we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. local leadership comes and goes at the agency but the career employees have been on the job
for almost 50 years. pollution is on the decline, my focus is to accelerate the decline, particularly most at risk committees. we recognize environment the public health issues disproportionately impact low income and minority communities. these are the committees most likely to live near hazardous sites or suffer from outdated infrastructure. these americans deserve a full and immediate attention. that is the list which trump sets his agenda and that is the lens through which we shaped hours. there may be no other example in our renewed focus, super program. federal program for responsible cleaning up some of the nation's largest hazardous sites. in the past, it wasn't unusual for sites to say, national priorities list for tickets. westlake landfill in missouri on radioactive waste from manhattan project. been on the list for nearly two
decades. in the last year, we approved a plan to finally cleanup site. we believe a site from a national priorities list should be just that. a national priority. we recognize how important it is to get these sites cleaned up and returned to safe productive use. fiscal year 2018, epa deleted all or part of 22 sites of the national priorities list. largest number of deletions in one year since fiscal year 2005. we are in the process of cleaning up some of the nations largest most complex sites and returning them to productive use. by prioritizing the super program where prioritizing the health and well-being of the committees that live near these sites. taking the same approach with our program which provides grants and technical assistance
to help committees cleanup contaminated properties. later this week, we will announce nearly $55 million in the branch to 149 communities across the country. targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. 19% of the selective recipients are in urban areas. while 81% are not urban areas, areas of operations of 100,000 or less. overall, 40% of the grants will go to the smallest of communities with populations below 10000. in addition, 40% of the selected community receiving round funding for the first time ever. this means we are reaching areas that may not happen previously neglected. we also made it a priority to prioritize opportunities. these are the economic distrust areas that can be designated for tax treatment in the president tax law. your rewarding brownfields and opportunity zones from detroit to west virginia to maine, just
to name a few. i hope the press will help us tell the story. the purpose of the program is much more than just revitalizing individual properties. its purpose is to be a catalyst that will spark an economic revival and forgotten and struggling communities. from the press, what amplifies our efforts and drive more investments into these neglected areas. the same mindset carried over into our regulatory approach. this no disputing who benefits from complex confusing relations they can only be interpreted the high paid lawyers and consultants. small businesses cannot suffer these costs. we are focused on providing inventory certainty and clarity that every american can understand. this is the goal of our new water in the u.s. definition. ultimate objective is property
owners should be able to stand on the property and tell if water is good or not without hiring outside professionals. they're defining the differences between protected and state protected water rights. we convened a work of eta, army court scientists to explore the ways we can accurately map which waters are in in which waters are not. finally, we are providing market publicly needs upheld by the courts. that is why we're doing this act. right now because of litigation, 2015 role is in effect 22 states the previous relations issued 1980s are in effect remaining 28 states. our proposal within this confusing work and established national consistency. this is we are concerned about clarity and quality of our rulemaking, we are also
concerned with the intent and in fact, her role in the branch is to permit the law and create a fair and level playing field. that is the motivation behind our new affordable clean energy rule for ace. which we finalize this month. i've been accused of going back the green carpet that you can't rollback something that never went into effect. twenty-seven states challenged it, supreme court intervened and historic. the cpp asked low and middle income americans to bear the cost of the previous administration. our analysis from one analysis projected double digit price increases in 40 states. rising energy prices hurt low and middle income americans the most particularly senior citizens and minorities. our proposal would inhere to the four corners of the clean air act and allow states to set standards of performance that
made the admissions guidelines. this will get states in the private sector certainty they need to invest in new technologies and continue to provide affordable and reliable energy. when ace is fully method, it would reduce u.s. power sector co2 emissions by 34% to the 2005 levels. your standards are proposed safe affordable fuel efficient vehicles rule. it's no secret the previous administration's approach focused on post exclusively on energy efficiency and carbon dioxide reductions. we not believe this was the right approach. public safety or the environment. here's why. the average age of vehicles on the road today is a record high of 12 years. in 1990, the average age was eight years. the lack of fleet turnover
creates a host of problems. research shows that passengers are more likely to be killed in order, compared to nuance. no older vehicles are less efficient and more. our approach is to achieve goals to walk in and get older vehicles off the roads. compared to keeping the 2012 standards in place, the option in our proposal would reduce the cost of owning a new car by more than $2300. the savings would help americans purchase new or cars and trucks and thereby improve the environment and safe lives. we believe this approach is better for the entire country for all 50 states as opposed to previous administration's approach which sought to incentivize certain technologies limited to a puppy subset of the population in affluent areas. study by the permit of transportation found about two thirds of households with better
electric or hybrid electric vehicles had incomes higher than $100,000. according to a report in the university california institute, the top income received about 90% of all electric vehicle tax credits. vehicle standards should not be used to play favorites. level the playing field and look out for the health and safety of all americans. not just those who can afford electric cars on a vehicle front, we're forward with a new proposal to help areas around the country. particularly urban centers reduce air pollution from the sources, this will help areas each attainment which alleviates regular toy burdens and brings back jobs and opportunity. the new proposal is cleaner trucks initiative. since 2000, emissions in the u.s. reduced by 52%.
however it is estimated heavy-duty trucks will be responsible for one third of all emissions from transportation by 2025. it's been nearly 20 years since they last set standards for heavy-duty trucks. working closely with states and the private sector, we reduce emissions from heavy-duty trucks which is not required by statute or by court order that makes sense to do and will help areas of our country. we intend to issue cleaner truck proposal at the beginning of next year. the final example of our new set that i like to share is our forthcoming role, and spent more than two decades since it was updated. you're committed to getting it done this year and we are committed to doing getting it done right. i speak by my staff on our progress last fall, i told him i was very concerned that the last mile of service lines that are replaced or not the most corrosive in our country. it is estimated 20 to 30 years
to replace all of our service lines across the entire country. was worried we would end up replacing pipes in those neighborhoods first, leaving low income committees until the end. the can't afford to wait. i came to ensure we are addressing the most corrosive pipes in the most at-risk communities first. they're currently working on that, were all the pipes across the country are located. when we roll our our proposed role, we can focus our work on most impacted areas. i on with more examples, our reforms will ensure all businesses can navigate the process and not wait years for decisions. the international front, we're all waiting to focus on what issues from infrastructure to bring better to drinking water. according to the united nations, 1000 children die every day from a lack of drinking water and
proper sanitation. to me, that is a crisis. it's a crisis we know how to solve. across the board, we realigned and focused efforts on the most in need. like the president said, forgot and men and women are forgotten no longer. before i conclude, can't pass up the opportunity for one final note to the press. you may think i ignore our present but i don't. i read them every day. i've noticed five things, but i really don't have time for five. some of the press consistently gets wrong puppy in a ministration in particular. one, the environmental is getting worse. i just this earlier. made tremendous progress. two, i was a former co- lobbyist. i represented dozens of companies including a solar company, nuclear including an
air quality management agency in california. three, we're rolling back relations like cpp. it was never implanted so they can't be rolled back. i was completely in fermented so we can't roll that back either. what we're doing, is addressing the underlying assumptions and calculations on the supreme court past to look into. four, meeting with the regular community and counter to environmental reduction. how can we be effective regulars if we never talk to or meet with the people that we regulate. as another ontology, the quickest way to correct harm is richer to return to complaints. long drawn out disputes help no one including the environment. finally, number five, ongoing war between the epa political and career staff. that is just not true. i started my career at the
agency, you're getting ready, 50 anniversary next year. we still have ten employees started with the agency 49 years ago. i won't give names today as i told them all but they have to wait one here. [laughter] before i publicly recognize them. but hope they all stay with the agency. live long dedicated history of employees at the agency. on that note, i'd be happy to take your questions. thank you for your time. thank you for your attention and thank you for the opportunity to address the press club. [applause] >> we have a lot of questions already. please bring your questions up if you want. talk a lot about water.
i figure i would start writing and ask you what is the situation right now in flint, michigan? >> right now, flint is obtaining the water quality standards. we are working with the local city as well as the state. were still providing one or two people if they need it. the water quality in michigan is safe to drink right now. that's one of the reasons why the president elected us to look at the copper. we're not under requirement of that role. want to make sure there are no flint, michigan in the future. >> you talk a bit about emission standards. automation understood. you're essentially think that increasing standards increase the cost of vehicles by not increasing, people are more likely to buy a new car. >> a lot of people don't realize the automobile manufacturers are not currently meeting the standards today or last year even.
they have paid penalties to the government for failure to meet the standards. they do it, the way, very few companies meet the standards. some of it to buy training, other programs by air-conditioning number of companies are paying fines to the government every year end that is expected to reach by the end of the obama proposal by 2025 to a building dollars a year in fines paid to the federal government. that's money that has been passed back onto the consumers when they buy their cars. >> this administration has rejected climate change issues that impact almost every term. do you think climate issue should play a larger role in the agency section? >> we are addressing climate change.
the reason why we are doing that relation, reduce on co2 emissions from power sector by 34% on 2005 levels is because we are moving forward to address climate change. we're looking, our café standards were also reduced co2. we take climate change seriously and we are implementing the laws of congress given to us and we are moving forward on ace, on café, methane as well. >> during your director confirmation hearing, he said i believe it has an impact on climate but what's not entirely understood is what the impact is. since you have been out of the epa, has your understanding of impact changed? >> somebody was prepared. [laughter]
i continue to have briefings from our career scientists at the agency climate change as well as a number of other issues on a regular basis. i was a little critical of the assessment when it came out last november, december, and lester. mostly critical on how it was being portrayed in the press. all the press reports focused on the worst-case scenario. which even the event is moving away from it. the direction of a .5 and national assessment last year, that was actually a direction by the obama white house to tell the career staff what to look at as far as worst-case scenario. i thought that was interference by the obama white house in the process. his administration did not stop and republished it as it was. i do think when you need to take a more realistic look at the worst-case scenarios, all
scenarios going forward. a lot of uncertainties when you get 50, 75 years out. we need to better understand those. and do a much better extending to people what they are and what they mean. >> do think we should prepare for the worst-case scenario? >> it depends. even the united nations is moving away from that. i'm not sure that's the worst-case scenario we should prepare for. the best part of why we need to understand in the uncertainties, what we need to prepare for? is the right level to prepare for? >> clearly we're headed in a different direction than the previous administration. how do you see your direction or approach? >> i would say the obama evan station almost single-handedly focused on climate change. which is a very important issue we are trusting it but it's other programs also. we had 22 sites listed last
year. since to five, will have a similar number tested this year. i'm personally taking a lot of time on these sites and briefing staff to make sure we are selecting the right remedy to get these sites cleaned up. get past the lawsuits and responsible parties, make sure we have an agreement and get them cleaned up. safeguard the people who live around those sites. in the last month, we listed a new site so we're also listening to sites listed seven or eight, i believe there were eight last month. one of them was a small town in west virginia. they have about 250 people from a high of 1200. that committee has been hit really hard because of the pcbs. and the area.
if you have this in the news every year for the last 20 or 30 years, who wants to move to the city? the people who live there now, who will they sell their houses to if they want to leave? we went to the community communities like that around the country to get their sites cleaned up and give them the focus and attention they need. there's a lot of forgotten communities across the country. we are trying to do at the agency to the program and focus on the zip codes with the most economic degradation around, is to try to give some help and support to those amenities. i think it's very important. >> you discussed that 40% of the grants were going to rural small towns or communities. the counter point be, shouldn't be the money be ducted to the
areas that have more impact, more people living there? >> we did that in a previous program. we're still doing that. i think their 20% are going to large areas those of the areas where we see the grants over the years. we did not just decide not getting into the large cities anymore. this is all about career staff and by looking at each application as a competitive basis and a lot of these small areas, they deserve it, travis environmental sites cleaned up. the pcbs that were produced in west virginia didn't go to help people who amended at the time. they helped people in larger cities. we went to the community's to clean up there and permit likely zero two people in urban areas, too. 20% of our grants aren't going to larger areas. >> many say you're doing industry that paper many of your
previous clients. how do you address that concern? >> i'm not. i've made it very clear, ethics and regulations, i've made an ethics pledge, i've met with -- i've not talked to any former clients. i'm doing anybody's with the trump in american people. >> why has epa defunded a two decade national product to research the environmental pollutants on children? >> i'm not sure which program that is referring to. we made a change in the office this last year. it's very important, we've asked for new funding this next year for a school initiative. we have a lot of programs across the entire agency that focus on
schools or drinking water in schools. they're all kind of separate and across-the-board what we're doing with this new initiative is to bring all that under one umbrella to help school administrators and principals figure out what are the important renovations they need to make in their schools to make sure children have healthy education where they go to school at healthy school for education. >> the first one, what is the position on the safety of roundup? >> that is currently in litigation, there are a couple of cases in california. i believe we put the new rear out for, but we do not believe it's a carcinogen.
in keeping with a number of other health organizations around the world, this was a long-term study started at the agency before i got there. >> so that's against the world health organization, the probable carcinogen? >> yes. it's only the international body that said that. we are in line with where other bodies are. >> have you visited any frontline committees in the last year? if you see, do you see policies moving forward to protect them? >> i visited with a lot of farming communities across the countries. also, there are a number of super sites around the country. during my first year, i focused on getting out to all of our region's. we have ten regions around the country.
and down in louisiana to make sure our coast is restored following the oil spill in the gulf park i have been down there twice and it's important to get out in the field to see what we are doing to clean up the environment. >> what about ocean plastics and the concern that pollution is getting much worse? you can control over the world's oceans but is there a role for the epa to be a leader? . >> there is the g7 ministers meeting a month and a half ago in france i will be at the g 20 later this month and that is a big issue for me. in addition to drinking water worldwide also the ocean plastics. 16 percent of the plastic debris comes from six asian countries.
if you look at the list of contributing countries the united states is ranked 20th. we still need to do more here on recycling but we need to work with the six asian countries producing 60 percent of the oceans plastic debris. the epa has international projects one in panama, one in jamaica and one in peru. they are all in this hemisphere. but what i have done is talk to my counterparts at the e.u. as well as canada and japan. and we are committed to take a look at the pilot programs we have done individually to figure out what are the best pilots to go to the next level for those six countries to make sure they are reducing the ocean plastics. if it goes into the ocean in asia it ends up in our beaches in the united states not to mention the food supply and
the marine ecosystems. we have to address this globally. there are best practices out there we're trying to figure out what can be replicated in countries such as vietnam or sri lanka that is contributing the plastics to the oceans. >> the first fda market sampling of food found several instances a high readings of seafood and cake and grocery stores of tfa the public health workers in the united states need to act more quickly what about the psa? . >> with t foss? so we came out with an action plan earlier this year as a comprehensive action plan for a category of chemicals ever
produced by the epa in our 49 year history. we did that and under one year with career staff working long hours to put that together and under all of the statues are 49 year history we have an era of being very silent we have our chemical office and historically a difficult time working across those silos with the action plans we try to break down the silos and how the team works together and we are moving forward on toxicity standards with the enforcement office we have initiated eight to clean up mayor buttigieg where we - - p-fos where we find it. and looking at the chemicals program and we have seen a few blank faces on this one but p-fos we have been in the
environment 40 or 50 years it is the most famous one is teflon pans the chemical and teflon it's also scotchgard. also gore-tex clothing. if you think about it everybody has in their homes it has been around a long time but it gets into the environment and it is a persistent biological accumulator. it gets in the water system and we have to clean it up but the problem is there are thousands of these chemicals and they don't all have the same risk but you also cannot use the same test for each. you can use the same method to clean them all up so people who would like us to move faster we are doing some groundbreaking research in cincinnati and north carolina to identify the chemicals earlier and which chemicals
are causing a health problem and what are the best cleanup solutions depending on which of the compounds it is. it's very complicated but we will address this much faster than the agency has ever done before. >> what about the chlorate in water it recently proposed if it is three times higher than the previous limit what is the reasoning behind that? . >> that was a proposal over the three levels of the proposal. this is based on the most recent science of whatever career scientist have been working on for several years. to put out the proposal based on their recommendations and research we know more than we did ten years ago. it is much more isolated than we thought it was which is a problem in california it has a standard in place a part of that proposal is to figure out
where else that is a problem before you go forward with the drinking water standard to require every system in the country to test for something if it's unlikely to be in those water systems then you have to ask if it's right to require everybody to test. if we know where it is used and found we can focus cleanup efforts in those areas. we are taking comment we have not reached conclusions i encourage anybody who is interested or concerned please read the proposal that is out for public comment and give us your thoughts. >> do you see a role for the federal government to support auto industry electrification? . >> sure but is not epa responsibility to decide be moved to electric vehicles. as long as we have a level playing field for
manufacturers can produce the cars they want to purchase then that is what we need to do. i think it's a misuse of regulatory authority if we decided what everybody should or should not purchase we have to have standards in place that would be applied to all types of vehicles. is important to remember there is some criticism that our standards would stop innovation. i don't believe that. i think the automobile industry is incredibly innovative and will continue to produce automobiles and cars and trucks that people want to purchase. is not epa's job to determine what people will want to purchase in five or ten years it's our job to set the standards of allow the marketplace to work. >> the standards were specifically for electric vehicles but emissions.
>> the obama regulations the only way they could comply with the standards would be 50 percent electric vehicle by 2025 and that you don't have to say you have electric vehicle but if you set the standard that only electric vehicles can meet then to factor you says it has to be electric spirit you see a role for the epa for her carbon capture and sequestration technology and how important is that? . >> it is very important for achieving climate goals the department of energy is in the lead of funding research for carbon capture sequestration making sure once it is commercial and can be used that we have a regulatory process in place to allow the use but with research but it is more the other and in the process with the energy
technology side which is part of that function. >> the epa has a way to change air pollution is calculated with a recent "new york times" article results in pure events from pollution to make it easier for the administration to roll back the clean power act how does it calculate the health risk of pollution? . >> first of all, we are not rolling back the clean power plant to the supreme court issued this before was ever in effect you can fix something that didn't take affect burke about what we are doing for, and how cold the benefits are calculated and talking about mercury omissions. the supreme court found fault with the previous administration the way they calculated cross benefit
analysis under the clean air act. under the proposal we put out last year does change the way we calculate the benefits. the important thing on mercury regulation is 99 percent of the benefits it was supposed to reduce mercury from power plants 99 percent of those benefits was particulate matter we arty have those regulations in place they are set to public health numbers and mercury they could not justify the cost of the mercury reductions they use the co- benefits argument to go farther which i believe it is double counting so what we are doing is following the supreme court case and the direction the supreme court gave us to review the calculations of the mercury
standards. but i want to assure everybody listening that we do not believe the mercury reductions will be compromised at all because we did the cost-benefit analysis as well as the technology review which is required from the clean air act. that technology review that the equipment has been installed and it needs to remain in place so what we are doing under this proposal is following the supreme court dictate of how we dictate cost-benefit analysis. >> questions about the coal industry one says the president ran on trying to save the coal industry and jobs and even though the industry is all on its own
their market forces are they artificially propping up the industry and should it be? . >> i don't think were artificially propping it up at all. if i could answer it this way, you have the clean power plant from the obama administration what declared war on the coal industry and went after one industry in particular in the clean power plant did not have the same power act but i believe the obama administration neglected in their rationale is the fact that worldwide coal electricity has not yet peaked. china, indonesia and india continue to build coal fire fired plants and clean coal technology is developed here in the united states. with a clean power plant basically took the us technology industry off-line.
if we don't develop the technologies here they will not get developed. there is more mercury deposited in the united states from asian power plants than all us power plants mercury travels around the world in the atmosphere we get our missions deposits from the asian power plants if you take that coal sector out of commission you take the development of cleaner coal technologies from ever being developed. those are then exported to other countries. that is a disservice to the environment and to our country and outside that age proposal and what percent should come from coal clicks we use to be
about 60 percent so it will probably go down from where it is today. but no other country would do that we develop the clean coal technologies. our methane emissions we have doubled the amount of natural gas produces 2000 and the methane emissions of 15 percent. other countries such as russia they are not reducing their methane but we are doing it because of clean technologies developed but i don't think the sierra club does. that they are leaking methane
by working cooperatively at the same time doubling production. and we produce our coal and natural gas so from the united states exports are energy we also export clean technologies and we don't trample on our partners when we do that. . >> and coming in for a hearing in oregon had you assess that lawsuit. [laughter] .
>> it is a very interesting lawsuit i don't think it will go much further as far as standing going back and forth on the case it hasn't been tried on the merits. >> but if we don't move forward with climate regulations that people challenge us for that to have 50 or 70 years from now i don't know that they do. when i say that there is a lot of free thinking judges out there so i will not judge were that may end up doing somebody asked your opinion of the green new deal is that realistic?
what do you call that. [laughter] . >> i don't think it is realisti realistic. just with my epa we are a public health environment agency and one of the things that we do is our emergency response so tornadoes and there are small wine car train derailments we respond to something of a single day with a large scale incident like the hurricanes last fall one of the first things we do is to make sure that the grid is up and functioning in order to power the drinking water systems we consider that to be a primary health function and
we have to make sure we have a reliable electric grid to ensure we have safe drinking water. and hit values a reliable electric grid and those that were debated 15 years ago so in the preamble or the findings i don't see that reflected in the green new deal the acknowledgment that we have to have a reliable electric grid if or not it nothing else so the people at home can watch it on tv to power the drinking water systems you have to have electricity to do that that's not a value in the green new deal. >> several questions about your predecessor.
>> i have had 14 predecessors i am the 15th. [laughter] . >> wednesday at pruitt was head of the epa it was a difficult time and the morale was pretty low given the ethics issues he faced. have you changed the mood of the staff clicks has his ten year made your job any harder is any agency or department changing from one to the next. and there is news at the apa for that clinton
administration so in the first year from what i have done since i have been the acting administrator last summer is i have visited all ten regional offices, three largest labs, have plans to visit the arrest meeting with career employees let them ask me any questions that they want and to be honest there's are harder than yours but i answer them. . >> so does that concern you? . >> absolutely this concerns you. 40 percent of the epa workforce and i'm not just it is eligible to retire over the next five years.
will i think they will all retire? that they will be over the next ten years. and with the human resources office starting in february. i was told that is unusual for an administrator but i wanted to make sure that she knew some of the issues and concerns and challenges that i see to catch her off guard. we have in history the people working at the epa and spending their entire career there are ten employees that have been there 49 years for quite look for that in the future. so how do we deal with the new millennial generation?
people graduating from college today are not expected to stay in the same job or the same profession their entire career. looking at three or four different jobs or careers. that runs counter to everything we know at the agency. if they hire somebody new straight out of college and they think they will be here for the next 20 years. they think three or five years. we have to figure out a way to attract and retain more people what the government does not do as well as private sector is transition when they do retire to make sure somebody else's trained to take over often we let somebody leave before we advertise their job so there is no trade-off of historic or institutional knowledge of information. that is a problem and that
does have my personal attention and it is a capital crisis at the agency. >> you are acting administrator for several months so serving in an active capacity do you see that as a problem with the acting administrator versus senate confirmed? . >> i certainly enjoy being confirmed but as a deputy administrator and confirmed again it is unavoidable but that confirmation process has gotten incredibly politicized and it's almost dysfunctional for quiet appreciate leader mcconnell moving forward.
the first year of 2017 when scott pruitt was confirmed the second epa person confirmed not unconfirmed until november that has never happened before usually have four or five people confirmed the first couple months so that was the first year with only one senate confirmed a person is a huge problem. emergency response office awaiting confirmation for over 500 days. this is the person in charge of a tornado or a flood or hurricane it's a shame it's almost a crisis we don't have them confirmed yet if that person is not on the job to be held up from the senate democrats and that's a
problem. >> we are almost out of time so first i would like to bring to your attention some upcoming events. june 19 news maker with adam schiff and then another lunch in the us army secretary so please come back and for you we have a highly coveted gift. [laughter] i chief of staff has to clear this for ethics. [laughter] . >> the department of energy has rebranded fossil fuels as well as fuels of freedom while they follow suit? . >> we don't brand like that. we have a level playing field
president trump is in the u.k. this week for a three day state visit. a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of d-day. the first stop was a visit to buckingham palace where he and the first lady were greeted by prince charles and his wife camilla. escorted to a welcoming ceremony that included queen elizabeth.