Former PG&E at­tor­ney to head EPA West Coast of­fice

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS -

The Environmen­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency has named a former at­tor­ney for the na­tion’s largest util­ity to head its West Coast of­fice, re­plac­ing the re­gional di­rec­tor ousted from the post last week.

John Busterud, who worked for Pa­cific Gas and Elec­tric for three decades, will man­age more than 600 staff em­ploy­ees and over­see environmen­tal pro­tec­tion ef­forts across EPA’s Re­gion 9, which in­cludes 50 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, Ne­vada, Ari­zona, Hawaii, the Pa­cific Is­lands and tribal lands, KQED re­ported Tues­day.

Mike Stoker, the EPA’s re­gional di­rec­tor since 2018, said he got a call last week from se­nior agency of­fi­cials in Washington, D.C., telling him to re­sign.

The change in lead­er­ship comes amid con­flict be­tween Cal­i­for­nia and the fed­eral govern­ment over environmen­tal pol­icy.

Among the dis­agree­ments are the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies aimed at ex­pand­ing do­mes­tic oil and gas pro­duc­tion, and its roll­back of environmen­tal reg­u­la­tions. Cal­i­for­nia, a state with ro­bust environmen­tal en­force­ment, is seek­ing to tran­si­tion away from fos­sil fu­els.

Busterud’s ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes serv­ing as a board mem­ber for the Cal­i­for­nia Coun­cil for Environmen­tal and Eco­nomic Bal­ance, a group that rep­re­sents the nat­u­ral gas in­dus­try, among other types of busi­ness.

At PG&E, Busterud di­rected the depart­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment and real es­tate. He worked on is­sues re­lated to air and wa­ter qual­ity, en­dan­gered species, toxic waste and environmen­tal pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to an EPA press re­lease.

Busterud re­tired from the com­pany’s law depart­ment in 2016 af­ter serv­ing 30 years with the util­ity.

Busterud said in a state­ment that it is an “honor and priv­i­lege” to take the po­si­tion with the EPA, and that he looks for­ward to work­ing with EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor An­drew Wheeler. “We are com­mit­ted to build­ing on the agency’s legacy of suc­cess by pro­vid­ing clean and safe air, wa­ter and land for all Amer­i­cans,” Busterud said.

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