Staff for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive via email to EPA Headquarters and the Regional Offices earlier this month, consolidating all major Agency decision-making at the Administrator’s office. Citing the fact that the “Presidentially-appointed Assistant Administrators and Regional Administrators have yet to assume their duties,” the email notes that for the next 30 days the Administrator will oversee all Agency actions having “significant regulatory and enforcement effect,” and where the actions might “limit the flexibility of the states, limit energy resource use, impose significant costs on industry or commerce, or otherwise likely result in significant public attention on the proposed decisions or final agency actions.”
While previous EPA Administrators have tried to assert their authority Agency-wide, this appears to be the first time all major decision-making has been consolidated at Headquarters. Though temporary, it is unlikely that the Regional Administrator and Assistant Administrator positions will be filled in the next month and we may see a continuation of this policy. Given the limited staff Administrator Pruitt has in place at Headquarters, this could significantly impact the pace at which EPA carries out its duties across the country.