Ex-Bush official expected to be deputy EPA head

Ex-Bush official expected to be deputy EPA head
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President Trump is likely to nominate former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Jeff Holmstead to be the agency’s deputy administrator, Axios reported Monday.

Holmstead is a partner at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell. Other potential contenders for the post have been ruled out, Axios said, citing two sources.

Trump has allegedly met with the former leader of the EPA’s air pollution office under President George W. Bush and likes him, although no final decision has been made.

Holmstead would be relatively moderate for Trump’s EPA. He has been in Washington for years and has lobbied on behalf of Arch Coal Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co., the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council and others before de-registering as a lobbyist in December.

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He has stated that the Obama administration’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health and welfare — the lynchpin for climate change regulation by the EPA — should not be reconsidered, a position that conservatives oppose.

Andrew Wheeler, a lobbyist for various energy and fossil fuel interests at Faegre Baker Daniels, was previously reported to be Trump’s top choice for deputy administrator at the EPA.

But Axios reports that Wheeler is no longer the leading contender.

If nominated, Holmstead would be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Scott Segal, another partner at Bracewell, said in a statement that he couldn’t confirm Axios’ story, which he called “highly premature.”

“However, we understand why the story is plausible.  Jeff’s record in public service is unparalleled,” Segal said, pointing to Holmstead’s experience at the EPA and his earlier role working on environmental issues in the White House under President George H.W. Bush.

Trump has so far nominated only two Senate-confirmed officials for the EPA: Administrator Scott Pruitt and Susan Bodine, the nominee to lead the agency’s office of enforcement and compliance assurance.