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Dec. 9 — President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team named a former George W. Bush climate negotiator to the Environmental Protection Agency landing team and other former Bush officials to the Energy and Interior department teams.
The latest round of advisers, announced Dec. 9, sent another signal of sweeping changes to the U.S. stance on global climate issues with the return to the stage of the former climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, and the appointment of Christopher Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute to the EPA transition team.
New additions to the Energy Department landing team were Mark Maddox, a consultant who formerly served in Bush’s Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy; Daniel Simmons, with the conservative Institute for Energy Research; and William Greene, a former Bush-Energy Department official who works for the hunter advocacy group Safari Club International.
Appointments to the Interior Department transition team were Mary Bomar, a former director of the National Park Service during the Bush administration; Karen Budd-Falen, a property rights attorney from Wyoming; and Ned Mamula, a petroleum geologist now with the Cato Institute.
Watson represented the U.S. before United Nations climate talks at a time when the Bush administration was widely seen as peripheral—or even antagonistic—to negotiations on a global climate pact. President Bush essentially withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, citing concerns that emissions reduction targets agreed to under President Bill Clinton would hurt the U.S. economy.
Watson served as Bush’s chief negotiator for seven years before being elevated to special envoy in late 2008. After President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and pledged to re-engage on international climate issues, Watson moved to Capitol Hill in 2009, where he took a Republican minority position with the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
Republicans abandoned the committee, created by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), after they took control of the House in 2011.
Horner is a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has pushed to roll back environmental and climate regulations. The CEI has argued that the EPA under Obama colluded privately with climate activist governors and environmental organizations to advance power plant carbon pollution limits. The group also filed suit in 2012 to force disclosure of e-mail and other records from EPA officials’ nonpublic e-mail accounts.
Horner also was among those pressing for the release of records in 2011 from Michael Mann, a climate researcher and professor at Pennsylvania State University.
For the Energy Department transition team, Maddox, a consultant in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources team at Livingston Group LLC who has a history of fossil fuel expertise, was tapped.
Maddox was formerly the acting assistant secretary of fossil energy at the Energy Department under George W. Bush. In this role, he oversaw the 21-nation Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Power Plant development and the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.
Maddox also was a senior policy adviser to the energy secretary on fossil energy and environmental management issues and principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy under the Bush administration as well.
The team also appointed Simmons, the vice president of policy for the Institute for Energy Research, who has a history in working for natural resource issues. Previously, Simmons worked as the director of Natural Resources at the American Legislative Exchange Council, and as a professional staffer on the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Additionally, the team selected Greene, a veteran Capitol Hill staffer who recently joined Safari Club International, a large hunters’ advocacy group, as their deputy director of government affairs. Greene previously worked in the Energy Department on the Yucca Mountain project during the Bush administration.
One of the Interior Department adviser picks was Budd-Falen, a fifth-generation Wyoming rancher and co-owner of Budd-Falen Law Offices LLC in Cheyenne, Wyo. The firm represents private property owners, ranching and farming organizations and local governments on property rights matters, including grazing rights and other uses of public lands.
Budd-Falen served for three years in the Interior Department during the Reagan administration as a special assistant to the assistant secretary for land and minerals management.
Mamula, another Interior adviser pick, is an advocate for greater oil and gas and mineral production in the U.S. as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a free market group. He is a geologist who worked on oil and gas exploration and production.
He also formerly worked at the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey and Minerals Management Service (now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) on energy and mineral resource assessments, environmental policy and the administration of federal leases.
In a CATO blog post in June, “Protecting the Nation’s Environment From the EPA,” Mamula said a Supreme Court ruling against the EPA over the clean water rule was “a victory for property rights and individual liberty.”
“Clearly, this EPA has continued unabated to exert unprecedented “environmental control” over the air, land, and water of the U.S. using numerous unpopular rules and regulations,” he wrote.
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