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Architect of controversial EPA policies to return as chief of staff: report

Architect of controversial EPA policies to return as chief of staff: report
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A former top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adviser who helped craft some of President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE’s most controversial environmental policies will return to the agency as its chief of staff, according to a Friday report from The Washington Post.

Mandy Gunasekara, who ran the Office of Air and Radiation under former EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittRestoring the EPA: Lessons from the past OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA finalizes 'secret science' rule, limiting use of public health research | Trump administration finalizes rollback of migratory bird protections | Kerry raises hopes for focus on climate security at NSC EPA finalizes 'secret science' rule, limiting use of public health research MORE, played a key role in writing regulations to roll back pollution controls for coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions, as well as the effort to leave the Paris climate accord.

Since leaving the EPA early last year, she founded Energy 45, a nonprofit “dedicated to informing the public about the environmental and economic gains made under the Trump administration.”

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A call to Gunasekara was not immediately returned, and the EPA would not confirm her selection for the role.

“Ryan Jackson is chief of staff at EPA until February 21st, at which time Michael Molina will serve as acting chief of staff,” an agency spokesperson said in an email.

Jackson is leaving the EPA to work at the National Mining Association, which advocates for the coal industry among other clients.

Energy 45’s webpage credits Gunasekara with being “the chief architect of the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.”

She also helped write the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Critics said if ACE is upheld, it could hamstring the agency for years, limiting EPA to only narrow pollution regulations for power plants.

Gunasekara, like Jackson and current EPA Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerBiden 'freeze' of Trump rules could halt environmental rollbacks 15 states sue EPA over decision not to tighten pollution standard for smog 13 states sue EPA over rule allowing some polluters to follow weaker emissions standards MORE, previously worked for Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time Overnight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Senate confirms Austin to lead Pentagon under Biden MORE (R-Okla.).