Election 2020

2 EPA Administrators Under Nixon, Reagan, Bush Endorse Hillary

Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus talks about proposals for rationing gas in southern California as an anti-smog measure on Jan. 15, 1973. (AP Photo/Wally Fong)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is touting endorsements from two former EPA administrators who served in GOP administrations, releasing a statement from the pair arguing that Donald Trump’s disbelief in climate change doesn’t fit with Republican environmental tradition.

William D.  the first administrator of the EPA when the agency was formed by President Nixon, returned to lead the agency for two years under President Reagan. He endorsed Barack Obama in 2008.

William K. Reilly, EPA administrator under President George H.W. Bush, led Obama’s commission investigating the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Republicans have a long history of support for the environment dating back to Theodore Roosevelt. Donald Trump threatens to destroy that legacy of respect for the environment and protection of public health,” the pair argued in the campaign statement. “It was President Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency and championed the historic Clean Air Act that has done so much to protect the health of every American.”

“It was President Ronald Reagan who ratified the Montreal Protocol, the most successful international environmental treaty in history, to fix the hole in the ozone layer. It was President George H. W. Bush who proposed and signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 to combat acid rain and toxic air pollution.”

Ruckelhaus and Reilly added that Donald Trump “has shown a profound ignorance of science and of the public health issues embodied in our environmental laws.”

“He hasn’t a clue about Republicans’ historic contributions to science-driven environmental policy: the incontestable environmental improvements in the restored lakes and rivers, the acid rain controls, the reduction of key air pollutants by 70, 80 and 90%, and the sharp decline in pollution from automobiles even as their numbers more than doubled,” they continued. “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. Our leadership was essential to that agreement.”

“To back away now, as Trump wants to do, would set the world back decades — years we could never recover. The young people in this country deserve far better than that as our legacy.”

Trump told supporters at a town hall last week in Columbus, Ohio, that Clinton wants to “put the miners and the mines out of business.”

“Now, she said that before probably an environmental group or something, but then she tried to back up,” Trump said. “But they remembered she said it and she got clobbered in West Virginia. Smart people. She got clobbered in West Virginia. So, we’re going to have clean coal, and we’re going to have steel, and we’re going to make our products again, and we’re going to have the people in Columbus and all of Ohio and all of Michigan and all of these other states.”

In that quote during a March town hall, Clinton pitched herself as “the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country.”

“Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right? And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories,” she said. “Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

Sanders defeated Clinton 54 percent to 35 percent in May’s West Virginia primary.

At Trump’s Columbus event, the GOP nominee promised “very, very, big cuts in regulations.”

“We’re going to cut down regulations between 85 and 90 percent. We’re going to take care of the environment,” Trump said. “We’re going to take care of safety, but we’re going to let it be that we’re going to be a growing, growing. When you look at 1.2 percent, that set a record. That means we’re drowning. That means we’re going in the opposite direction.”