EPA’s policy chief on the agency’s step-by-step plan to meet the climate-change challenge.
One of the hottest seats in Washington — next to that of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy — belongs to EPA policy chief Joel Beauvais. Since becoming associate administrator of the agency’s policy office late last year, Beauvais has been meeting almost daily with McCarthy and the EPA brain trust to guide the development of regulations for power plants as well as other initiatives, most of them components of the ambitious — and controversial — climate agenda President Obama launched in June 2013.
“We’re taking this in pieces, right?” Beauvais says, noting that EPA has already set standards that will double the fuel economy of cars
and trucks by 2025, substantially reducing the transportation sector’s emissions. Now it is tackling carbon emissions from electricity generators under the Clean Power Plan, he says: “The projections are, we’ll get 25 to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 for that sector. These are really meaningful reductions that I think set us on a path that gives a lot of reason for optimism.”
Industry and many in Congress have decried the proposed rules aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from existing and future power plants as job-killing overreach and a misguided “war on coal,” but Beauvais says he has little concern that they will be blocked or derailed. “I think we are quite confident that we’ll be able to finalize the rules,” he says. “Notwithstanding that there are some critics on the Hill and elsewhere, we also have a lot of strong support — and, most importantly, the president has really been extremely clear and firm in his support for the rulemaking.”
Rather than worry about the opposition, EPA is laser-focused on meeting Obama’s goal of having final regulations in place by June of next year, Beauvais explains. “This is how we do our work here at the agency,” he says. “We take our best shot at it in a proposal, then we hear what folks have to say, and we try to adjust course to make sure that we’re doing the best possible rule.”
Hearing Beauvais, 42, describe his life and career, it seems he was destined for his current role. He doesn’t disagree: “I’ve always had a high regard for the agency,” he says.
He grew up in northwest Connecticut “playing around in the woods” in the Berkshires, and went to Georgetown and Yale, where he developed a love for forestry and environmental issues, especially during a summer in Guatemala. After graduating with a political-science degree, he took a job with the Nature Conservancy, helping indigenous peoples who live within a massive biosphere reserve in Nicaragua protect their tropical forestlands from encroachment by mapping out their territories and advocating for their land rights.
Law school at New York University led Beauvais to clerkships with D.C. Circuit Judge Harry Edwards and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, then to a stint at Latham & Watkins, where he worked on appellate cases and environmental issues. After the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, he was hired by then-Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., as counsel on the now-defunct Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Beauvais followed Markey to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Energy in 2009, where he helped write cap-and-trade legislation that passed the House. He moved to EPA in 2011 as counsel to then-Administrator Lisa Jackson. He later transferred to the Office of Air and Radiation, led by McCarthy. She rose to administrator last year; Beauvais was named policy chief in December. “I love to come and work with her every day,” he says. “She’s just a really inspiring leader, and she’s so much fun.”
Beauvais says he is not bothered by the doomsday scenarios painted by industry interests, particularly the coal industry. “I think we feel tremendous optimism about where the sector is headed domestically and that that’s going to be good for the U.S. economy,” he says. “And, frankly, coal is expected to continue to play a very significant role in the U.S. economy going forward.”
Terri Cooper is the new head of Deloitte’s federal health sector. (Richard A. Bloom)Born in Biggin Hill outside London, Terri Cooper earned degrees in chemistry and pharmacology at the University of London on her way to the pharmaceutical industry in the U.K. Then, in 1995, she joined Coopers & Lybrand and moved to Canada with her new husband. Through a series of mergers in the consulting world, by 2006 she was in New Jersey with Deloitte. Cooper, now 54, still lives in the New York City metro area but commutes weekly to Deloitte’s offices in Rosslyn, Va., where she has just been named leader of the firm’s federal health sector. In that role, she manages all of Deloitte’s work for federal health agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. Deloitte helps its clients improve everything “from bench to bedside” in health care, meaning research, treatment, and anything in between, she says.
The Bockorny Group
Jason Scism joins the Bockorny Group, a consulting firm. (Richard A. Bloom)Jason Scism wanted to work in politics, so after earning his political-science degree at the University of Florida, he came to Washington. Scism, who grew up in North Carolina and Florida, landed an internship at the White House, and then worked for two House Republicans — John Mica of Florida and Darrell Issa of California. His five and a half years with Issa, who in that time became chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, were a joy, Scism says: “He’s an incredible boss. He’s bright, driven, and he’s fair.” Scism’s work on telecom and intellectual-property matters led him to a job as lead lobbyist for BlackBerry in 2010, working on regulatory issues and patent reform. Now 38, Scism has just taken his lobbying experience and George Mason University law degree to the Bockorny Group as a principal in the bipartisan consulting firm. “I’m getting back to issues I hadn’t had a chance to work on for a long time, like copyright,” he says.
The Entertainment Software Association
Stephanie Moore joins the Entertainment Software Association as chief counsel, legislative and business affairs. (Chet Susslin)While doing legal work in New York for state Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright in the 1980s, Stephanie Moore helped him research copyright issues for jazz greats such as Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Art Blakey, and Pharoah Sanders. The experience led Moore, a native of Birmingham, Ala., with degrees from Oberlin College and Harvard Law School, to a career specializing in intellectual-property law. She next put her credentials to work on Capitol Hill as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, which included time as chief counsel to then-Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., when he was ranking member on the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee. Last month, Moore became chief counsel for legislative and business affairs at the Entertainment Software Association, where she will work on federal policy issues affecting the video-game industry. Asked if she is a “gamer,” Moore admitted she’s become addicted to a number of computer games, but hasn’t yet mastered the Xbox.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story stated that improvements in light-duty vehicle efficiency would cut in half transportation-sector greenhouse-gas emissions. The story should have stated that the improvements will substantially reduce such emissions.
Additionally, the story misstated when Joel Beauvais worked on cap-and-trade legislation in the House. He helped write the legislation after he had moved to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.