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New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is picking an ally from his fights against EPA rules to head the agency's Office of Policy, a person familiar with the decision tells Axios.

Who she is: Samantha Dravis comes to EPA after serving in senior roles with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) and its affiliated Rule of Law Defense Fund. Pruitt, who was Oklahoma's attorney general, is a former chairman of both organizations. The groups have been active in the battle against the Obama EPA's Clean Power Plan, a sweeping rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants that's squarely in the crosshairs of Pruitt and the White House.

Why it matters: The choice underscores Pruitt's commitment to bringing an anti-regulatory regime to the agency that expanded mandates on fossil fuel industries under President Obama.

What we're hearing. The choice is raising eyebrows—and concerns—within the agency about her lack of environmental policy experience.

Our thought bubble: Look for Democrats and environmentalists to cast the naming of Dravis as further evidence of close ties between fossil fuel companies and Pruitt. RAGA has "relied heavily on funds from ultraconservative groups and the oil industry," according to The Washington Post. Dravis, an attorney, was previously counsel to Freedom Partners, one of the groups in the Koch network, and served as associate director of the office of political affairs in the George W. Bush White House. She received a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Go deeper

9 seconds ago - Politics & Policy

Court rejects Trump campaign's appeal in Pennsylvania case

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously rejected the Trump campaign's emergency appeal seeking to file a new lawsuit against Pennsylvania's election results, writing in a blistering ruling that the campaign's "claims have no merit."

Why it matters: It's another devastating blow to President Trump's sinking efforts to overturn the results of the election. Pennsylvania, which President-elect Joe Biden won by more than 80,000 votes, certified its results last week and is expected to award 20 electoral votes to Biden on Dec. 12.

Dave Lawler, author of World
17 mins ago - World

Belarus dictator Lukashenko says he'll leave post after new constitution

Photo: Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty

Longtime Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has said he will step down after a new constitution comes into force, according to Belarusian state media.

Why it matters: Lukashenko has faced three months of protests following a rigged election in August. He has promised to reform the constitution to reduce the near-absolute powers of the president, but has insisted that his strong hand is needed to see that process through.

3 hours ago - World

Iran confirms assassination of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe

The Iranian ministry of defense issued a statement on Friday confirming the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, an Iranian scientist and the architect behind the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Fakhrizadhe was the head of the Amad project in the Iranian ministry of defense, which focused on developing a nuclear bomb until 2003.

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