In a year with record-setting fires in the West and historic hurricane numbers in the East, climate change is top of mind for many people.
For just the second time in history, Atlantic storms are being named using the Greek alphabet after surpassing the annual list of names.
"As far as the hurricanes, there's a lot of scientific debate on the hurricanes," Andrew R. Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed today on Cheddar's Opening Bell.
Meanwhile, leaders in Western states have been raising concerns about climate change once again as devastating and deadly fires consume more land than ever before. Those leaders pressed President Trump on the issue last week after the administration blamed forest management for the fires. At the time, the president claimed that "it will get cooler soon."
Wheeler told Cheddar he does believe in climate change and humanity's contribution.
But Wheeler doubled-down on the administration's claims that forest management was behind California's increasingly destructive fires. "I do believe most of it is forest management issues because you don't have the same problems in other parts of the country," Wheeler said.
This week a group of former leaders of the EPA endorsed Joe Biden. The group was made up of EPA leaders who served under Democratic and Republican administrations. Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor from New Jersey who ran the EPA under President George W. Bush, reiterated her stance Monday that the current administration was running a war against science.
Wheeler hit back today on Cheddar. "Yesterday's announcement was just pure politics," he said. "They had no facts to back up their statement."
Wheeler touted the agency's record on regulation enforcement and said he is "very proud of the fact that we have doubled the amount of both civil and criminal penalties by the Obama-Biden administration during the same time period." He went on to say the agency's foremost responsibility now is to enforce existing regulations as more and more environmental programs are delegated to the states.