President Obama is about to nominate outgoing Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire as the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a very private prediction from a very senior source in Washington’s congressional delegation.
Gregoire’s spokesman, Cory Curtis, said she has had no offer from the White House, formal or informal. Gregoire has not discussed jobs with Obama, he said — at least not directly.
“I don’t know what the back-channel conversations have been, but they have not been with the president,” Curtis said.
The White House wouldn’t comment on potential nominations.
Our Sunday story looking back at Gregoire’s tenure as governor includes a look at her environmental legacy:
Gregoire has her greatest misgivings around the Puget Sound cleanup. While she won passage of legislation to create a single Puget Sound Partnership agency in 2007 and some shellfish beds have been reopened to harvests, Gregoire did not secure major new funding to make more dramatic progress.
But Joan Crooks, executive leader of Washington Environmental Council, said Gregoire has put the state in a good position now to actually move ahead with Puget Sound restoration.
Environmentalists did raise eyebrows at Gregoire’s executive order to suspend rulemaking by agencies, but the list of issues that went their way under Gregoire is actually quite long.
Brendon Cechovic, executive director of the Washington Conservation Voters advocacy group, said Gregoire’s support for hitching the state’s clean air standards for cars to California’s higher standards in 2005 was her first “home run.”
The list also includes funding for public transit in the transportation package; laws that require recycling of electronic waste and reduce toxic materials in bedding and children’s products; and a deal she brokered with Canada-based TransAlta to phase out its coal-burning power plants at Centralia by 2025, making Washington first to phase out coal-burning inside its borders.
“We always felt like the governor shared our values, and man, is she a fighter. She usually lined up for us,” Cechovic said.