Congressional OK Needed to Alter EPA Structure: Official

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By Anthony Adragna

Aug. 8 — Any tinkering with the organization and structure of the Environmental Protection Agency will effectively require congressional approval, a senior agency official said.

Laura Vaught, associate administrator for EPA’s Office of Policy, said in a letter obtained through the Freedom of Information of Act that the agency would have to conduct an “internal and external review process” if it opted to pursue revamping the structure of the agency's existing 10 regional offices. There are no current proposals to restructure the regional offices in the agency.

“The review would examine resource implications, the resulting organizational structure, and employee impacts,” she wrote. “For a reorganization of this magnitude, the agency would also seek congressional approval prior to it being implemented.”

Vaught's letter responds to a January 2016 request from Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) for information on what actions would be necessary for an agency restructuring. He said his constituents reported that “there are some discrepancies in how rules and regulations are carried out” among regions.

The response also said “EPA regional offices participate in the development of the rules” and supporting documents, such as fact sheets and frequently asked question documents, that help ensure consistency in implementing regulations.

Though there are no current plans to tinker with the agency's regional offices, some Republicans have pledged to deliver more fundamental changes to the EPA. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, for example, promised to “get rid of [the EPA] in almost every form” during a March 2016 debate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Adragna in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at

For More Information

Vaught's response and McKinley's original letter is available at

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