With Staff Changes, EPA Sharpens Climate Focus

BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 9: U.S. Environment Protection Administrator Gina McCarthy attends the opening session of the joint committee of the Environmental Cooperation held at the Diaoyutai State guesthouse on December 9, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Ng Han Guan - Pool / Getty Images)
National Journal
Amy Harder
Add to Briefcase
Amy Harder
Dec. 12, 2013, 2:35 p.m.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is shuffling the agency’s staff to put greater focus on President Obama’s climate agenda.

In an announcement issued last week and obtained Thursday by National Journal Daily, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy named Joel Beauvais to be associate administrator for EPA’s policy office, a spot left vacant when Michael Goo left the post earlier this fall for the Energy Department.

Beauvais has a background in global warming. He worked on House cap-and-trade legislation from 2007 to 2010 while counsel to the now-defunct Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and then as counsel to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Prior to this post, Beauvais was associate assistant administrator in EPA’s air and radiation office, which McCarthy led prior to her appointment as administrator earlier this year.

McCarthy also promoted Alisha Johnson, previously press secretary, to be deputy associate administrator for EPA’s office for external affairs and environmental education.

“I am confident that in these new roles, Joel and Alisha will continue to be instrumental as we implement the President’s Climate Action Plan and continue our work to protect human health and the environment,” McCarthy said in the Dec. 3 memo making the announcements.

These promotions come on the heels of additional changes McCarthy made to her personal office this summer in a way that, according to a memo McCarthy sent to staff in July, will “emphasize working with the White House and key stakeholders to create opportunities to highlight the benefits of our work.”

The memo highlights several changes in staff working closest with McCarthy.

Lisa Feldt, formerly deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s solid waste and emergency response office, is now associate deputy administrator of EPA. Arvin Ganesan, formerly associate administrator for EPA’s congressional affairs and intergovernmental relations office, is now deputy chief of staff for policy.

Feldt and Ganesan will focus on a range of issues across the agency “in an effort to streamline our processes, maximize efficiency and identify opportunities to highlight activities that provide the greatest on the ground environmental benefit,” McCarthy said in the memo.

Feldt has been focusing heavily on policies related to methane emissions, according to sources familiar with her portfolio. The administration’s handling of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent harmful than carbon dioxide, has faced more scrutiny as the country becomes more dependent on natural gas, a fossil fuel that is composed primarily of methane but burns with half the carbon emissions of coal. It’s for that reason the conventional wisdom indicates natural gas is better for global warming than coal. But peer-reviewed studies are raising questions about how much methane is inadvertently leaked during production and transmission of natural gas, triggering calls from environmentalists for increased regulations. EPA has argued that rules issued in 2012 to limit traditional pollutants like sulfur dioxide also have the effect of reducing methane emissions.

Taking Ganesan’s spot in the congressional affairs and intergovernmental relations office is Laura Vaught, who was previously Ganesan’s deputy. According to her LinkedIn profile, Vaught has worked on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, including as chief of staff to former Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who was instrumental in crafting the House cap-and-trade bill.

What We're Following See More »
GOVERNMENT WARNING ALLIES, COMPANIES
Iran Prepping Cyberattacks on U.S.
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry out extensive cyberattacks on U.S. and European infrastructure and on private companies, and the U.S. is warning allies, hardening its defenses and weighing a counterattack, say multiple senior U.S. officials. Despite Iran having positioned cyber weapons to carry out attacks, there is no suggestion an offensive operation is imminent, according to the officials, who requested anonymity in order to speak."

Source:
ALLOW TRUMP DEAL TO STAND
Congress Drop New ZTE Sanctions From Defense Bill
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Negotiators from the Senate and House of Representatives late Thursday agreed to abandon efforts to reinstate harsher sanctions" against Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. "Draft language advanced in the House earlier this year focused on a procurement ban for ZTE products, whereas the Senate approved language that would reinstate the sales ban for U.S. companies to sell to ZTE." The change is a major win for President Trump, who has had exempted the company from earlier sanctions as part of broader trade negotiations with China.

Source:
CITY HOSTED 2012 DNC
RNC Officially Awards 2020 Convention to Charlotte
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
LORDY, THERE ARE TAPES
Cohen Secretly Recorded Trump Discussing Hush Money Payment
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments" to former Playboy model Karen McDougal "who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump." The FBI seized the recording during an April raid of Cohens office. "The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election," which may violate federal campaign finance laws. Days before the election, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks denied any knowledge of the payment, and said that the allegations were "totally untrue."

Source:
IN NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED, NO LESS
Rep. Hurd Says Trump Being Manipulated by Putin
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Conservative Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a former CIA agent, says in a New York Times op-ed this morning that Russian intelligence is "manipulating" President Trump. "The leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," he writes.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login