It turns out that he made only one, five-minute phone call to the White House from the safety of that phone booth, according to a new report from the Washington Post. The existence of this call, which happened on January 29, came to light as part of a Sierra Club lawsuit. An EPA spokesperson declined to tell the Post what the call was about.
According to acting EPA administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, the lightly used phone booth is still in his office, sitting there like a turd. “It’s there,” Wheeler said in an interview with E&E News on July 13. “It would be expensive to tear it apart. I don’t see any sense in tearing it apart.”
What Wheeler is quite willing to tear apart, however, is an Obama-era proposal that would have limited carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants. On Monday, Wheeler signed a plan to significantly weaken regulations on the coal industry. That plan, according to the agency’s own proposal, will lead to more pollution-related deaths.
From the New York Times:
The proposal lays out several possible pathways that individual states might use for regulating coal-fired power plants, and what the consequences would be for pollution and human health in each case. In the scenario the E.P.A. has pegged as the most likely to occur, the health effects would be significant.
In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are dangerous because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis.
Wheeler can tell the White House the good news from the phone booth.