Wednesday, July 20, 2005

As the revolving door turns: Holmstead OUT at EPA; someone even WORSE may be coming in!

It’s official. Jeffrey Holmstead has announced his resignation as EPA’s chief air pollution control officer.

And we he may be replaced by someone even worse from a clean-air standpoint.

Holmstead, the former Latham&Watkins attorney, of course has been one of the key players in the pro-industry air pollution positions crafted by the Bush administration. His top aide and confidant has been William Wehrum, another Latham&Watkins alum.

And now we hear Wehrum is in line to take Holmstead’s job.

If this is true, Wehrum deserves intense scrutiny by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which would have to make a recommendation on his nomination.

Wehrum has been a dark force whispering in Holmstead’s ear. He is credited with helping shred the Clean Air Act’s new source review program (which even incoming enforcement head Granta Nakayama admits should be an important enforcement tool in the law), cutting deals for the paper industry (which he used to represent) and helping craft the odious pro-industry mercury rule. He reportedly ordered EPA professionals not to perform needed studies.


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