The Salt Lake Tribune
May 19 2017 07:00AM
A plan to require new pollution controls at coal-fired power plants in Utah was among the Environmental Protection Agency’s greatest accomplishments under the Obama administration, according to one of the agency’s former leaders.
Shaun McGrath, former EPA Region 8 administrator, oversaw the agency’s operations in Utah, the Dakotas, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming from 2013-2016. As is typical for the agency’s regional officials, the political appointee left his position when President Donald Trump assumed office.
Trump has since appointed ex-Oklahoma Attorney General and longtime EPA critic Scott Pruitt to head the agency, but still has not filled McGrath’s Region 8 position.
On Thursday, McGrath — now taking a break from his career to enjoy some globe trotting — met with environmental advocates in Salt Lake City to discuss the highlights of his tenure at the EPA, and his concerns about the agency’s current direction. He also granted The Salt Lake Tribune an interview.
McGrath praised state environmental regulators and defended some of the controversial decisions to come out of the EPA in recent years — including the regional haze ruling that required new pollution systems at Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter and Huntington power plants in central Utah.
“In the past, relationships between the EPA and the states have been very strained,” McGrath said in the wide-ranging interview.
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