EPA Chief Wheeler: “If you cannot demonstrate that EPA employees will be safe accessing our City offices, then I will begin the process of looking for a new location…”
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has threatened to close the federal agency’s New York City office in Lower Manhattan, blaming the ongoing protests that have roiled the city for months. He specially called out the mayor and the governor in his remarks.
In a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, a copy of which was obtained by The Post, Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler torched the duo’s leadership and lashed them for their failure to act during the July “Occupy City Hall” protests that damaged the EPA office and surrounding buildings.
Wheeler also pointed to anti-ICE demonstrations last week in which at least a dozen people were arrested, and said he had received intelligence from law enforcement that the group wanted to create a “Portland like” demonstration targeting the campus they work on.
“If you cannot demonstrate that EPA employees will be safe accessing our City offices, then I will begin the process of looking for a new location for our headquarters outside of the City that can maintain order,” Wheeler wrote.
New York City’s federal buildings have been a target of recent “peaceful protests,” including the EPA offices.
Demonstrators who took part in “Occupy City Hall” protests near the EPA’s regional headquarters at 290 Broadway in July defaced the facade of the building and sent a “projectile” through its street-level glass, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in a letter to Cuomo and de Blasio dated Tuesday.
Anti-U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement protesters, meanwhile, “engaged in unwarranted, violent activity” at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building — which is next to 290 Broadway — on Sept. 16, “breaking windows and defacing/destroying government property,” Wheeler wrote.
“Throughout these incidents, (the Federal Protective Service) has engaged the EPA and other tenants to keep us informed of potential threats,” he wrote. “However, maintaining law and order in New York City is not their responsibility; it is yours.”
The following is a video of the September 16 protest to abolish ICE. It unfolded in Manhattan following a whistleblower complaint that immigrant women detained in Georgia allegedly received hysterectomies without consent.
Additionally, the EPA has also postponed an internal speaker series on environmental problems faced by racial minorities and low-income communities after recent White House order for agencies to stop specific “un-American” race-related training.
The move comes as many Democrats — including presidential candidate Joe Biden — have used broader racial tensions in the U.S. to highlight the heightened risks that pollution and environmental threats pose to communities of color, indigenous peoples and low-income areas.
EPA’s postponement of the “environmental justice” series was because of a Sept. 4 memo from the Office of Management and Budget that cited a directive from President Donald Trump for agencies to halt any “divisive, un-American propaganda training session.”
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