From EPA Region 9 Director Mike Stoker (a Trump admin appointee)
February 6, 2020
TO THE CAREER STAFF IN EPA REGION 9:
It is with great regret that I deliver my final “All Hands” to this way. However the leadership in HQ left me no other option. I received the call Wednesday (Feb 5, 2020) at 8 am advising me that I either needed to tender my resignation or I would be terminated by the close of business. Within minutes my EPA phone and laptop were disabled.
So let me start by saying what I’ve told you before…the career staff in Region 9 are the most professional, dedicated and passionate employees I have ever worked with. Every day you give 100% to serve the EPA’s mission to protect the public health and environment. From the first day I was sworn in I’ve tried to bring that same commitment to the job as well. Indeed working with you for almost 2 years has and always will be the greatest honor in my professional life.
So why did the Wednesday morning call occur? There are a lot of specific situations that someday I will reveal but that day will not occur while the President is still in office. I was appointed by the President and I remain loyal to the President.
Generally speaking I will say I believe too many clashes between myself and leadership in HQ over policy and non-policy items (when I was given advance notice which often was not the case) ultimately played a significant role in the call. And you’ve all heard me say in past All Hands that I believed I had the best job in America and the only times it was very frustrating it always had something to do with HQ over matters I had no control or input.
And then just 3 weeks ago I was told by someone in HQ whose identity will remain anonymous that it wasn’t going unnoticed how many Democrat members in Congress were commending me for the job I was doing. (Speaker Pelosi for Hunter’s Point, Congressman O’Halleran for Navajo Nation Uranium Mines, Congressman Scott Peters for my work responding to transboundary sewage in the San Diego-Tijuana sector of the border and Congresswoman Gabbard for Red Hill and my work representing EPA on the Coral Reef Task Force in protecting, preserving and enhancing our coral reefs And even Democrat Governors for my work in the American territories in the Pacific.) …
read … Final Letter to Dist 9 EPA Staff
LA Times: Ousted EPA official in California says he was pushed out for being too bipartisan
HPR: EPA Regional Official Who Covered Hawaii Says His Firing Followed Praise From Pelosi
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EPA Announces Appointment of John Busterud to Region 9 Administrator
News Release from EPA, 02/11/2020
WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the appointment of John W. Busterud to become Regional Administrator for Region 9. Mr. Busterud will oversee federal environmental protection efforts in: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the U.S. territories in the Pacific ocean, and 148 federally recognized tribes.
“John Busterud’s extensive background in energy and environmental issues makes him a great choice to lead Region 9,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I look forward to working with him to advance the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment for all in the Pacific Southwest.”
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as Regional Administrator of EPA Region 9,” said Mr. Busterud. “I look forward to working with Administrator Wheeler, the administration, our dedicated professional staff, and our partners and stakeholders to protect human health and the environment in the Pacific Southwest. As EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are committed to building on the agency’s legacy of success by providing clean and safe air, water, and land for all Americans.”
John Busterud comes to this role with over 30 years of experience as an environmental and energy attorney. Most recently, he was Senior Director and Managing Counsel, Environment and Real Estate, Law Department, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), in San Francisco, California from 1985-2016. At PG&E, he managed a broad practice including air and water quality, hazardous materials compliance and remediation, endangered species, and legislative and environmental policy matters. During his tenure at PG&E, Mr. Busterud served as an industry representative on EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee from 2012-2017.
Mr. Busterud is also a retired U.S. Army Colonel with multiple Combined, Joint and Interagency assignments, including active duty deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Combined Forces Command on the Korean Peninsula.
Mr. Busterud has most recently served as a board member for the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance, Vice Chair of the California Veterans Board and Chair of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.
Mr. Busterud received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Union College, NY, and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College.
Widespread Praise for Mr. Busterud’s Appointment:
“John is a superb choice for the position. He is a person of the highest integrity and accomplishments, is very passionate about the environment and protecting the public interest, and will also bring business experience and a common sense approach to complex environmental issues,” said Ron Van Buskirk, senior environmental partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
“John Busterud is a strong and positive leader who has both decades of experience in solving environmental issues and a well-earned reputation of integrity,” said Cindy Tuck, Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations, Association of California Water Agencies and Former CalEPA Undersecretary.
“Colonel John Busterud is uniquely qualified to provide strong and steady leadership for EPA and Region 9. John understands the issues and knows the key players, particularly here in California. As regional administrator, John will carry forward his long and distinguished career as a public servant. We congratulate John and EPA on this important appointment,” said Bill Quinn, President and CEO of the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance.
“John is a true patriot with a penchant for service. I’ve served with him as a lawyer in the Army, served with him as a fellow solider, and served with him as his commander. EPA is in good hands. I’ve always known John to be very pragmatic and brilliant in his decision-making ability. The Pacific Southwest will have a great Regional Administrator,” said Gary Medvigy, retired U.S. Army Major General, current sitting Clark County, Washington Councilman, and retired California Superior Court Judge.
EPA Region 9 (Pacific Southwest) is located in San Francisco and serves Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and 148 Tribes.