Jun 19, 2017

Scoop: Jeff Holmstead expected to be deputy EPA administrator

Jeff Holmstead, a former top EPA official under President George W. Bush, is expected to be appointed as the No. 2 official at the EPA, according to two sources familiar with the decision-making process.

Holmstead, now a partner at law and lobbying firm Bracewell, is the last man standing for the deputy administrator post. EPA chief Scott Pruitt has met with him and likes him, and the White House recommended him so he's an easy pass from that end. No final decision has been made, but there is no other serious contender for the job at this moment. Other contenders, including coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, have been cast aside, according to a source with direct knowledge.Why it matters: If Holmstead is nominated, it would represent a moderating tilt inside the agency's leadership. Holmstead is a veteran Washington insider and considered a more moderate official compared to many elected Republicans today, and compared to some top advisers in EPA now. The EPA had no comment, and an email to Holmstead seeking comment late Sunday wasn't immediately returned. An automatic reply indicated he's out of the office until June 25.The other side: A source in the conservative environmental movement tells Axios that Holmstead's nomination could provoke open opposition from conservative groups. During the Bush administration, he pursued regulatory reforms some in conservative circles thought weren't big enough and since leaving he's worked on issues that run counter to certain issues important to right-leaning advocacy groups on climate change and ethanol. Two more things to know:Until recently, Mr. Holmstead was a registered lobbyist on EPA and Energy Department issues, and his firm Bracewell lobbies for oil refineries urging EPA to change the types of companies that must comply with a federal ethanol mandate. Holmstead has said EPA shouldn't review a scientific finding the Obama EPA issued in 2009 that concluded carbon emissions endanger public health, arguing it wouldn't stand up in court. That finding is the legal underpinning of the Obama-era carbon regulations Pruitt is now working to undo. This will be one of the arguments put forth by conservative groups should Holmstead get the nod.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 745,308 — Total deaths: 35,307 — Total recoveries: 156,875.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 143,672 — Total deaths: 2,575 — Total recoveries: 4,865.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Hospital ship the USNS Comfort arrives in Manhattan.
  4. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
  5. World updates: Spain and Italy extend lockdown deadlines while Italy becomes second country to surpass 100,000 confirmed cases.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Living with the coronavirus
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Majority of governors order residents to stay home

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

At least 29 state governors have ordered their residents to stay home to promote social distancing and limit community spread from the coronavirus pandemic as the U.S. copes with more than 144,000 positive cases — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 killed over 2,500 people in the U.S. by Monday. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,700 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 4,800.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Health

Maryland becomes latest state to issue coronavirus stay-at-home order

Gov. Larry Hogan. Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday he is ordering residents to stay at home effective 8 p.m. due to the coronavirus, except for those engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: Maryland is the latest state to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 39 mins ago - Health