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President Donald Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou break ground for a new factory and potential big pollution source on June 28, 2018. Andy Manis / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

When former administrator Scott Pruitt stepped down and Andrew Wheeler took over, few who care about clean air, clean water and climate change actually thought things were going to get dramatically better at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Wheeler, after all, came to the job after working as a coal lobbyist and a legislative aide to one of Congress's most notorious climate deniers. Still, given that he'd actually begun his career as a special assistant in the EPA's Pollution Prevention and Toxics Office, it wasn't outlandish to wonder if Wheeler might represent at least some kind of improvement over his predecessor.

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A man shops for Roundup in a California store. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, does not cause cancer, reaffirming its 2017 finding and contradicting juries who ruled the opposite in two high profile trials, Reuters reported.

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.

The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.

"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."

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Cars make their way their way over the East River on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge into Queens on Feb. 25 in New York City. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / Getty Images

For new cars and trucks released in 2017, carbon dioxide emissions reached a record low, and mileage per gallon reached an all time high, according an U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) report released Wednesday.

The findings are leading many environmental advocates to ask, if Obama-era fuel economy standards seem to be working, why roll them back, as Trump's EPA has proposed?

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Andrew Wheeler at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Jan. 16. CSPAN / YouTube screenshot

The Senate voted to confirm former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as official head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday.

Wheeler has run the agency since July, when he replaced former administrator Scott Pruitt following a resignation prompted by numerous scandals. As acting administrator, Wheeler has confirmed the fears of environmentalists that he would be a "smarter" threat, pursuing President Donald Trump's deregulatory agenda without the distraction of Pruitt's more obvious corruption.

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A view of the EPA headquarters on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ran afoul of a law against campaigning when it made a resignation letter praising President Donald Trump available to the press, watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said Monday.

On Feb. 7, former Principal Deputy Administrator in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation Mandy Gunasekara sent a letter to the president on official EPA stationary saying she was leaving to work educating the public about the successes of the Trump administration. This letter was then made available to reporters, the EPA confirmed to Government Executive.

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Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate that comes from the same chemical family as sarin nerve gas, is used on foods such as strawberries. bluecinema / Getty Images

Health and labor organizations will have to argue again in court that chlorpyrifos, a brain-damaging pesticide, must be banned from all food uses, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The decision comes four months after Andrew Wheeler's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked the court to rehear the case either by the three-judge panel that originally banned chlorpyrifos in 2018, or by a panel of 11 judges.

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Win McNamee / Getty Images

Acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler is one step closer to deregulating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The former coal lobbyist, who critics say is even worse for the environment than his scandal-plagued predecessor Scott Pruitt, secured a key approval by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, sending President Trump's nominee to the full Senate for approval.

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Acting EPA head Andrew Wheeler testifies at a Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 16. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / Getty Images

Former coal lobbyist and acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler has named a climate denier to serve on the agency's Science Advisory Board, which is responsible for giving independent policy advice.

Among eight new members added to the board Thursday is University of Alabama in Huntsville atmospheric science professor John Christy, who has argued that the climate change predictions agreed upon by most scientists are too extreme, and that urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is not necessary, Reuters reported.

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A stop sign in front of EPA headquarters. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Civil fines charged to polluters by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration fell 85 percent during the last fiscal year when compared to the average annual amount charged over the past two decades, The Washington Post reported Thursday. That makes last year the lowest average year for penalties since 1994.

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Protesters interrupt the confirmation hearing for Andrew Wheeler on Capitol Hill Jan. 16 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

This week, people across the country are joining environmental leaders to speak out against the nomination of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Scott Pruitt's hand-picked successor, Wheeler has continued to put polluters over people, most recently by using the last of his agency's funding before it expired in the government shutdown to announce plans to allow power plants to spew toxic mercury and other hazardous pollution into the air.

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