Trump EPA plans leave top bureaucrat ‘anxious’ about transition

Trump targeted EPA for criticism on the campaign trail, pledging to roll its authority back to the states, and has questioned the science behind climate change. The president-elect has also interviewed prominent critics of the agency to manage EPA in his administration, such as Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) and former Texas state environmental regulator Kathleen Hartnett White, leaving the agency’s supporters to wonder what EPA will look like under Trump.

Agency ‘anxious’ to work with transition — McCarthy

U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said today there has been sparse interaction between her agency and President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.

In a discussion with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, McCarthy said there has been one contact between EPA and the transition effort.

“As far as I know up until this weekend, we have just had one individual who came a couple days before Thanksgiving, and we haven’t heard from them since,” McCarthy said.

Now almost a month since Election Day, Trump’s transition team has been slow to launch and enter the agencies to begin changeover from the Obama administration.

Two weeks ago, McCarthy said at the National Press Club that there had been no contact at all from the transition effort (E&E News PM, Nov. 21). Shannon Kenny, EPA’s transition director, said in an internal email last week and obtained by E&E News that Trump’s transition team had begun to arrive at the agency (E&E News PM, Nov. 28). Still, Trump has named two individuals to his EPA landing team so far — Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Amy Oliver Cooke, with the Independence Institute, a Colorado free-market think tank (Greenwire, Dec. 1).

Trump targeted EPA for criticism on the campaign trail, pledging to roll its authority back to the states, and has questioned the science behind climate change. The president-elect has also interviewed prominent critics of the agency to manage EPA in his administration, such as Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) and former Texas state environmental regulator Kathleen Hartnett White, leaving the agency’s supporters to wonder what EPA will look like under Trump.

Trump’s transition team did not respond to messages from E&E News asking for comment for this story.

McCarthy’s discussion covered a wide range of topics, including the Obama administration’s decision yesterday to withhold final approval of the Dakota Access pipeline and climate change (see related story). But the EPA chief also touched on the shift in administrations and her and her staff’s willingness to ensure a smooth transition for Trump’s team.

“They’re going to, as career staff, engage in that transition. We’re most anxious to have the transition team around so we can have that conversation,” McCarthy said.

The EPA administrator said career employees at her agency are ready to work for the incoming administration.

“The most important message I’m giving to people is to trust that the mission of the agency is solid,” McCarthy said. “They are professionals. They have been through transfers before. We have to fully respect the decision that was made by the country.”

Asked to comment on Trump’s EPA prospects — many of whom have battled the agency in court to do away with its signature climate change rule, the Clean Power Plan — McCarthy declined to do so. She emphasized EPA is nonpartisan and its mission is simple enough to follow.

“It’s just about public health,” McCarthy said. “People like clean air and clean water and healthy land, and I think that will sustain.”

The EPA chief also noted her own history as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection before first coming to the agency as its air chief in 2009.

“If you’re thinking about somebody who worked for a state and sued EPA, that would be me, too,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to weigh in any way on whether or not they’re [Trump’s potential EPA administrators] good or bad.”

Kevin Bogardus

Greenwire

gina

Free Range Report

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *