The Department of Justice’s top official for the environment is recusing himself from the government’s defense of the Obama administration’s landmark climate change regulation.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division Jeff Wood said March 31 that he would not participate in the case over the Clean Power Plan due to his work before joining the Justice Department. Wood previously worked at Balch & Bingham LLP, where he filed an amicus brief on behalf of Republican members of Congress against the Clean Power Plan.
Wood also served as environmental counsel for former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who was confirmed as attorney general last month, and as the Republican staff director for two Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittees.
The Clean Power Plan, which would have required carbon emissions reductions from the electricity sector, was placed on hold by the Supreme Court in 2015.
President Donald Trump has yet to nominate a assistant attorney general to lead the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Wood told Bloomberg BNA that others at DOJ are handing the situation.
Trump issued an executive order March 28 directing the Environmental Protection Agency to review its various climate change regulations, including the Clean Power Plan (RIN:2060-AR33). The administration is also rolling back a proposal to provide aid to states and reward early compliance with the plan.
—With assistance from Patrick Ambrosio and Andrew Childers.
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