Trump Administration Taps Ex-PG&E Lawyer as New Regional EPA Chief in California

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) logo is displayed on a door at its headquarters on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) logo is displayed on a door at its headquarters on March 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Days after the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed, the agency announced Tuesday that it would replace him with John W. Busterud, a former lawyer for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest electric power provider.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler praised Busterud’s “extensive background in energy and environmental issues” in a news release announcing the change, and said he was a “great choice” to lead the Pacific Southwest regional office that oversees California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and other western territories.

The appointment continues a trend of the Trump administration filling the government’s environmental jobs with people who have ties to the power sector, fossil fuels, agribusiness and other industries subject to federal regulations.

Busterud has spent more than 30 years as an attorney specializing in environmental and energy issues, most recently as PG&E’s senior director and managing counsel for environment and real estate, according to the EPA news release. The company filed for bankruptcy last year after a series of devastating wildfires, many of which were sparked by its power grid structures, left it with with potential liabilities for damages reaching billions of dollars.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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