News Releases from Headquarters›International and Tribal Affairs (OITA)
EPA Administrator Concludes Engagements at G7 Environmental Ministers Meeting
Metz, France (May 7, 2019) - Yesterday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler concluded his visit to Metz, France where he attended the annual G7 Environmental Ministers Meeting. While in Metz, Administrator Wheeler met with environmental ministers from France, Japan, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy and presented solutions the United States can move forward to address a number of global environmental initiatives. This included: endorsing the Metz Charter on Biodiversity that commits to conserving biodiversity at home and abroad; supporting the Great Apes Survival Partnership to help protect great apes; supporting the International Coral Reef Protection Initiative; building on the Innovation Challenge to Address Marine Plastic Litter; Taking into Account the Informal Sector in the Inclusive Transition to Sustainable Waste Management; and supporting the Ocean Risk Resilience Action Alliance.
"I want to thank French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Francois de Rugy for bringing together our international partners to advance wide-ranging environmental issues," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "The United States will continue to work with our G7 members to ensure we curb litter in our oceans, preserve our lands, and continue to clean the air for our citizens while ensuring economic prosperity."
On Saturday, Administrator Wheeler began his visit by meeting with Canadian Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna where they focused on ways the United States and Canada can work together on conservation and cleanup efforts for the Great Lakes region. Administrator Wheeler and Minister McKenna agreed to meet in the future at a location in the Great Lakes region to highlight the importance of the preservation of the Great Lakes and are looking for ways to partner with private sector stakeholders to ensure we keep our waters clean. In addition, Administrator Wheeler and Minister McKenna both stressed the need for the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that includes important environmental text.
The following day, Administrator Wheeler began his Sunday by meeting with U.S. non-governmental and private sector stakeholders that included representatives from Ocean Conservancy and LyondellBasell where they discussed how the U.S. can help lead the effort to curb marine litter and plastic debris. Every year, an estimated 11 to 28 billion pounds of waste ends up in the ocean, harming marine life and coastal economies. Nearly 60 percent of that waste comes from six Asian nations. Approximately 80 percent of ocean trash comes from land based sources, including plastics.
Administrator Wheeler then participated in the opening remarks for the G7 where he expressed the U.S.'s deepest sympathies for the tragic fire at Notre Dame and emphasized the need for member countries to collectively use their resources and technical expertise to address a number of global environmental challenges. He then presented on the Trump Administration's efforts to reduce criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and highlighted the administration's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) and Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) rules to address emissions for electric power plants and vehicles.
After his presentation, Administrator Wheeler held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada where they emphasized the need to improve resource efficiency and ways to improve coordination in reducing marine and plastic debris.
Administrator Wheeler then attended a working lunch where he presented that those without electricity and clean drinking water face the biggest environmental inequalities. During the lunch, Administrator Wheeler emphasized his belief that waters issues are the largest and most immediate environmental issues facing the world today and that G7 members must look to addressing the one to three million people that die each year due to lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
Following his address on inequality, Administrator Wheeler presented on concrete solutions to address biodiversity and showcased the Trump Administration's development of a national Water Reuse Action Plan and stressed the need for innovative work to be done with respect to water recycling.
Soon thereafter, Administrator Wheeler held a bilateral meeting with French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Francois de Rugy where he reasserted the United States still intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement unless opportunities for renegotiation arise that would level the playing field for the United States. He also assured Minister de Rugy that the United States continues to lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to work with the international community to reduce its carbon footprint.
Administrator Wheeler then presented to the G7 gathering on EPA's efforts to reduce ocean plastic debris and briefed leaders on the Agency's Trash Free Waters Programs to capture trash before it reaches our oceans.
Afterwards, Administrator Wheeler held a bilateral meeting with German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Buildings and Nuclear Safety Svenja Schulze where they discussed chemical management, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and resource efficiency.
On Monday, Administrator Wheeler met with the United Kingdom's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Therese Coffey. Administrator Wheeler emphasized the need to help the global community to reduce its marine waste footprint and they discussed ways to improve biodiversity outcomes.
Following his bilateral with the United Kingdom, Administrator Wheeler presented on what the United States is doing to promote biodiversity conservation, and noted that the United States spends upwards of $400 million to support biodiversity conservation worldwide. In order to ensure funding for projects around the world, Administrator Wheeler presented on how the Trump Administration is improving water infrastructure through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act that establishes a federal credit program to invest in water infrastructure and that it can provide a model for international institutions to advance major projects overseas.
Administrator Wheeler then attended the adoption of the Metz Charter on Biodiversity that underscores the commitment of the United States to conserving biodiversity at home and abroad.
After the adoption of the Metz Charter, Administrator Wheeler held a bilateral meeting with Italian Minister for the Environment, Land, and Sea Protection Sergio Costa where they continued on their prior commitments from last year G7 meeting in Halifax, Canada to continue their partnership to curb food waste and help with environmental efforts in Africa.
Next month, Administrator Wheeler is expected to attend the G20 Environmental Ministers Meeting in Japan where he hopes to continue on the constructive dialogue from his meetings in Metz, France.
[DM1] Please note that this spelling repeats in the photo caption.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler holds his first bilateral meeting with Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler meetings with U.S. stakeholders from Ocean Conservancy and LyondellBasellto discuss marine litter.
Administrator Wheeler prepares to deliver intrdouctory remarks at the G7 meeting.
EPA Administrator Wheeler holds a bilateral meeting with the Japanese Minister of the Environment Yoshiaki Harada.
Environmental Ministers from each G7 country pose for a photo together.
Administrator Wheeler holds a bilateral meeting with French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition Francois de Rugy.
Administrator Wheeler holds a bilateral meeting with German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Buildings and Nuclear Safety Svenja Schulze
Administrator Wheeler holds a bilateral meeting with United Kingdom's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Therese Coffey.
Administrator Wheeler holds the Mez Charter on Biodiversity alongside other G7 leaders.
Administrator Wheeler holds a bilateral meeting with Italian Minister for the Environment, Land, and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa.