Pruitt picks former oil exec to lead the EPA’s most environmentally progressive region
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen Mike Stoker, a former oil executive, to lead the EPA's southwest regional office, which includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, and several Pacific Island territories. Not only do most of these states represent one of the country’s most environmentally progressive areas, but they all face escalating environmental crises, such as droughts, wildfire management, and rising seas. Before he became the director of governmental affairs for an agricultural association in California, Stoker was a spokesperson for Greka Oil & Gas, a company that has been paying millions to settle claims concerning multiple oil spills in Santa Barbara County. While serving on the county's board of supervisors, Stoker also argued against limiting offshore drilling. All this will undoubtedly make for a bumpy ride for Stoker at his new gig in San Francisco—not to mention the fact that California is now suing the federal government for its right to set up its own (stronger) air pollution rules.