Past Republican EPA Heads Endorse Clinton Over Trump

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By Anthony Adragna

Aug. 9 — Two former Republican Environmental Protection Agency administrators endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Aug. 9, citing Republican nominee Donald Trump's “profound ignorance of science” and the former first lady's commitment to “reasonable, science-based policy” to address climate change.

William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly warned in a statement released through the Clinton campaign that a Trump presidency would “set the world back decades” and destroy a Republican legacy of environmental protection that includes creation of the EPA, passage of the Clean Air Act, ratification of the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and reductions in acid rain, among others.

“Donald Trump threatens to destroy that legacy of respect for the environment and protection of public health,” both former administrators said. “For us, there is simply no choice in this election … That is why as Republicans, we support Hillary Clinton for President.”

Ruckelshaus served as the first administrator of the EPA under President Richard Nixon and returned for three more years under President Ronald Reagan. Reilly served as the agency's head during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.

Trump has repeatedly denied the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, vowed to “cancel” a landmark international climate change agreement reached last December in Paris and pledged to undo a host of signature environmental regulations from the Obama administration.

Clinton Understands Climate Risks

Both former administrators said Clinton “understands that environmental protection is a public health issue” and “recognizes the threat that climate change represents to this country and the rest of the world” in announcing their endorsement.

“That Trump would call climate change a hoax—the singular health and environmental threat to the world today—flies in the face of overwhelming international science and the public conviction and commitment of almost 200 national governments that adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015,” they said. “We Republicans should be shocked, outraged even, at the prospect that all this progress, this legacy will be repudiated and rolled back by Donald Trump.”

This isn't the first time the two former administrators have backed Democratic action on climate change. They intervened as amici in the ongoing appeals court battle over the EPA's Clean Power Plan to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, arguing Congress intentionally made many of the Clean Air Act's provisions broad to give the EPA the flexibility to address emerging air pollution problems without having to ask for the law to be updated.

Whitman Declines to Support Trump

Another former EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman who served under President George W. Bush, also has said she won't support Trump but hasn't endorsed Clinton in the race.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Adragna in Washington at aadragna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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