Ousted regional EPA chief tapped for obscure energy post

By Kelsey Brugger | 03/26/2020 01:09 PM EDT

Mike Stoker is the former EPA Region 9 administrator.

Mike Stoker is the former EPA Region 9 administrator. Claudine Hellmuth/E&E News(graphic); EPA(Stoker); Snazzymaps(map)

Six weeks after he was abruptly fired, a former EPA political appointee has been tapped for a new post in the Trump administration.

President Trump today announced his intent to nominate Mike Stoker to be the federal representative on the Western Interstate Nuclear Board — a post that has been vacant since Trump took office.

The board’s executive director, Maury Galbraith, said today he was unaware of Stoker’s nomination.


"This is the first I’ve heard it," he told E&E News, noting that their office is shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoker was not immediately available for comment.

Stoker grabbed headlines last month after his sudden termination and what became a very public spat with EPA leadership after agency officials claimed Stoker showed "severe neglect" for his basic job duties (Greenwire, Feb. 6).

Stoker shot back that his bosses fired him for reasons that were "100% personal" and identified Doug Benevento, the nominee to be EPA deputy administrator, as his prime adversary. Stoker, a Trump loyalist, had threatened to write a tell-all book and entertained the idea of suing the agency.

Now, in a surprising chain of events, the White House nominated him for the nuclear board, also known as the Western Interstate Energy Board. The board was established in 1970 by Congress to coordinate energy issues for 11 Western states and two Canadian provinces.

The board works with the Energy Department and focuses on transporting spent nuclear fuel, among other energy and grid issues.