Trump appointee steps down at EPA

Trump appointee steps down at EPA
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A member of the temporary political team leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump administration is resigning.

David Schnare, an outspoken climate change doubter who was a frequent adversary of the EPA during the Obama administration, told colleagues in a Wednesday email that he has “been honored to have had the opportunity to serve the Trump administration, but I have completed as much as I am able.”

He told The Hill on Thursday that a number of factors led to his resignation, including that some agency employees want to undermine President Trump’s agenda.

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“I wasn’t forced out, and it wasn’t in a tiff,” he said. “I just wasn’t in a position to achieve much anymore.”

Schnare said the vast majority of career staff at the EPA, where he previously worked for decades, are dedicated public servants, but there are a small handful “who were definitely were antagonistic” to Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.

“They’re here for some other reason. They’re here for a cause,” he said.

But Schnare emphasized that there were other reasons for him to leave less than two months after Inauguration Day, including that he has been working 10- to 12-hour days and felt it was time to retire.

He said his decision to leave is “complex,” and he would write about it in detail soon.

Greenwire first reported on Schnare’s resignation Thursday.

Some EPA staffers have made no secret of their opposition to Trump’s and Pruitt’s aggressive deregulatory agenda. Among other actions, workers organized an unprecedented effort to lobby the Senate against Pruitt’s confirmation.

The new administration is seeking to undo a host of controversial Obama rules on climate change, water pollution and more, in an effort to help regulated industries. Pruitt rejects the mainstream science behind climate change and Trump has called it a “hoax.”

Schnare had been named in December to Trump’s transition team for the EPA. After the inauguration, he stayed on as part of the “beachhead team,” a group of political appointees who are serving on a temporary basis while positions are filled.

He worked most recently at the Energy & Environmental Legal Institute, a free-market group.