Feb 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Report: Former top EPA official expected to return as chief of staff

In this image, the EPA logo is seen on a flag

The Environmental Protection Agency logo flies at the agency's headquarters in D.C. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Mandy Gunasekara, former deputy assistant administrator in the Environmental Protection Agency's air office, is expected to become the next chief of staff, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters, via Axios' Amy Harder: Gunasekara's return signals that the agency plans to double down on a deeply conservative approach to eschew new regulations of almost any kind, as opposed to embracing more moderate policies that some businesses are calling for.

Flashback: Gunasekara — who was instrumental in crafting President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of air pollution standards — left the EPA last February to start a new political advocacy group defending those policies.

  • Gunasekara also pushed Trump to exit the Paris climate agreement, which aims to dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades to keep Earth's global temperature from rising 2°C within this century.

What they're saying: EPA spokesperson Michael Abboud told the Post in an email that, “Ryan Jackson is Chief of Staff at EPA until February 21st, at which time Michael Molina will serve as Acting Chief of Staff."

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