Earlier this month, Trump transition team member David Schnare sent a memorandum to EPA Assistant Administrators and Regional Administrators. The one-paragraph memo directs AAs and RAs:
to identify and send upward any proposed decisions or final agency actions for the Administrator’s review which, in the judgement of the Acting RA’s and AA’s would limit the flexibility of the States, limit energy resource use, impose significant costs on industry or commerce, or otherwise likely result in significant public attention on the proposed decisions or final agency actions.
At a certain level, one can understand Scott Pruitt wanting to make sure that decisions made on his watch are consistent with his priorities. On the other hand, as Bloomberg BNA reported (subscription required), no current or former EPA employee interviewed by Bloomberg had ever seen anything like this memo in prior transitions.
Here in EPA Region I, we are used to the regional office acting as though headquarters were nothing more than an occasional nuisance. I know that my friends at EPA would deny this, but we went through eight years of the Bush administration with the private sector wondering the entire time whether Boston paid any attention to Washington.
No longer. Boston is once again a fiefdom.