SCUTTLEBUTT OVER DEPUTY EPA CHIEF

Jeff Holmstead, who served as a top EPA official under President George W. Bush, is emerging as the top candidate to be the agency’s deputy administrator, Axios reported Monday.

Holmstead is a partner at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell. Other potential contenders for the post have been ruled out, Axios said, citing two sources.

Trump has allegedly met with the former leader of the EPA’s air pollution office under Bush and likes him, although no final decision has been made.

Holmstead would be relatively moderate for Trump’s EPA. He has been in Washington for years and has lobbied on behalf of Arch Coal Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co., the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council and others before de-registering as a lobbyist in December.

He has stated that the Obama administration’s 2009 finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health and welfare — the lynchpin for climate change regulation by the EPA — should not be reconsidered, a position that conservatives oppose.

Andrew Wheeler, a lobbyist for various energy and fossil fuel interests at Faegre Baker Daniels, was previously reported to be Trump’s top choice for deputy administrator at the EPA.

But Axios reports that Wheeler is no longer the leading contender.

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