“Easily lost amid the turmoil in the Trump administration last week was the firing of Mike Stoker, the administrator for the EPA giant Region 9. Stoker, a Republican and Trump appointee, blames clashes with EPA headquarters in Washington plus his willingness to work with Democrats—including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—for his February 5 ouster.
Stoker, 64, is forthcoming about his work with California Democrats. When he took over Region 9, he says, the Superfund site at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco was ‘a mess.’ A Navy contractor had fabricated test results and residents didn’t know if they were living on toxic waste. After tense negotiations with the Navy, Stoker got the state to conduct tests that showed that residents weren’t in danger.
“Working with Speaker Pelosi and the state and the Navy, we turned that situation around,” says Stoker, who received a letter of thanks from the Democratic leader.
A few weeks ago, Stoker says, he was told by a political appointee that headquarters had taken note of the praise he was receiving from Democrats in Congress. His dismissal comes as the EPA has been slashing staff while rolling back air and water protections. Stoker stands out among the many who have left the agency, however, because the agricultural attorney had also been a Trump loyalist, fundraiser, and Republican delegate.”
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