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EPA head acknowledges climate change, but says most threats ’50 to 75 years out’

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared on CBS for the first network interview since his confirmation, and while he acknowledged the human contribution to climate change, he also said most threats are “50 to 75 years out.”

Wheeler discussed a number of issues during the 20-minute interview with CBS News. Much of the interview focused on addressing the issue of clean drinking water globally, which he said is currently a greater threat than climate change. Wheeler gave a speech on global water issues this morning, and those comments can be found on the EPA’s website.

On climate change, Wheeler said, “Man certainly contributes to it. Yes, absolutely.” But later in the interview, he says, “It is an important issue that we have to be addressing, and we are addressing. But most of the threats from climate change are 50 to 75 years out.”

Wheeler also used the discussion on climate change to mention how the U.S. has reduced its CO2 emissions 14 percent since 2005 — most of that time was, of course, during the Obama Administration. Wheeler mentioned “two major regulations in the works” to reduce carbon emissions.

CBS notes, “Those measures would replace rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants and clean car standards.” President Trump’s EPA has proposed rules to lower fuel economy standardsfrom the Obama administration’s goals.

Wheeler’s background as a coal lobbyist was questioned, to which he said, “First of all, I wasn’t just a coal lobbyist, I’ve represented over 20 different companies.” He mentioned the work he’s done for an air quality management company and a solar company. He also said as EPA head, he was instructed by Trump to clean up the air, clean up the water, and to deregulate to create more jobs.

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