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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

Companies turn to pay hikes to lure workers

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More hourly workers are getting a pay bump. Thank the new war for employees.

Why it matters: To meet the demand that's only expected to get more ferocious as reopening continues, companies are having to bid up to attract workers.

Latino mental health crisis grows

Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Over 40% of Latino adults have reported symptoms of depression during the pandemic, in contrast to 25% of white non-Hispanics, the CDC reports.

Why it matters: The emotional distress is especially acute for Latinos who had COVID-19, some of them tell Noticias Telemundo.

Misinformation is just one part of a vaccine trust problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the first major pandemic in the social media era — offering experts a rare opening to study the relationship between online misinformation and human behavior on a large scale.

Why it matters: As misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines runs rampant, researchers are trying to measure how much memes and messages with false information can alter someone's decision to get vaccinated.

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