At the request of carbon-powered AES Puerto Rico and Utility Solid Waste Activities Group (USWAG), the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Andrew Wheeler, authorized states and territories to suspend groundwater monitoring carried out in landfills and ash ponds, and ordered that the permitted levels of lead, cobalt, lithium and molybdenum be raised in those aquifers. Wheeler’s first reform will go into effect in a month and it will have the effect of hiding critical information from nearby communities, as well as allowing those who produce this waste to not have to respond for the pollution caused. The USWAG is an influential conglomerate of U.S. utilities that intervenes with its lobbyists on public policy issues on solid and hazardous waste. AES Corporation, parent company of the Puerto Rico coal energy company, is also a member of that association. Wheeler added that the claims made last year by the USWAG and AES Puerto Rico deserved to be addressed “in the public interest” and accepted by the federal agency, because their implementation will result in net savings of up to $31.4 million per year for owners and operators of electric coal plants.