Air office appointee recused from issues with major utility

By Sean Reilly | 03/02/2020 01:16 PM EST

EPA deputy air chief Karl Moor.

EPA deputy air chief Karl Moor. Balch and Bingham LLP

Deputy EPA air chief Karl Moor has agreed to steer clear of involvement in specific matters related to Southern Co. and his former law firm, Balch and Bingham LLP, for most of the next two years, his recusal statement shows.

Moor, a lawyer, joined EPA last December after working for the Birmingham-based firm since 2016 (Greenwire, Dec. 6, 2019). He had previously been a top executive with Southern, the Atlanta-based power producer, where he played a role in challenges to air quality enforcement and the Obama-era Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. On his recusal statement, however, Moor lists Southern as a former client.

The recusals will last until early December 2021.

Advertisement

EPA provided a copy of the statement, dated Jan. 14 and addressed to acting air chief Anne Idsal, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from E&E News.

The two-year recusal window is set by a 2017 executive order. Under that order, Moor wrote that he is "prohibited from participating in any particular matter involving specific parties in which" Balch or any former client to whom he provided legal or consultative services in the last two years "is a party or represents a party."

It will be up to Ann Campbell, chief of staff in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, to screen any activities involving either Balch or Southern, both of which have a long history of involvement in Clean Air Act issues.

During his first month at his new job, Moor joined in an array of activities at EPA, including a meeting with the Lignite Energy Council, a discussion of "Truck Trailer-related litigation" and a farewell party for Justin Schwab, the agency’s outgoing deputy general counsel, according to his daily work calendar, also released in response to a FOIA request.

Reporter Kevin Bogardus contributed..