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 John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 PruittOvernight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' Court sides with scientists on EPA policy barring grantees from serving on agency boards Overnight Energy: Senate energy bill stalled amid amendment fight | Coronavirus, oil prices drive market meltdown | Green groups say Dem climate plan doesn't go far enough 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 WheelerOvernight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air Warren, Markey knock EPA over 'highly dangerous and irresponsible' rollback amid pandemic Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE, previously worked for Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeNavy chief resigns amid uproar over handling of aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis COVID-19 and the coming corruption pandemic GOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC MORE (R-Okla.).