U.S. EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow offered thoughts today on how his office could move forward as the agency readies for the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
In an internal email sent to general counsel staff and obtained by E&E News, Garbow, who’s been EPA’s top lawyer since August 2013, called last night "the culmination of a long and difficult election season for our country."
"Mindful that our collective diversity and differences of opinion are what gives us strength in times of perceived adversity, and in times of celebration, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on how this Office will move forward. Together," Garbow said.
Garbow noted, "For nearly five decades, this Agency has made an indelibly positive imprint on the life of this great country. We have done so in every Administration since President Nixon signed the papers that formed EPA. And you will continue to do so in the future — for the remainder of the Obama Administration, and into the next. I am certain of that."
Republican presidential nominee Trump’s shocking defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic candidate for the White House, is set to upend much of EPA’s work over the past several years on environmental protections. Trump has said he will revoke the Clean Power Plan and pull the United States out of a climate change agreement reached in Paris last year, among other items on his agenda.
Telling employees that he hopes they "hold close a feeling of unity of purpose, and maintain the resolve to serve with pride, excellence, and integrity," Garbow quoted Robert Frost’s famous poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."
Said Garbow, "We keep those promises, and walk those miles together."
In a separate email sent earlier this morning to all agency employees, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said a smooth transition into the next administration was a top priority for her.
"President Obama has made it clear that a seamless transition is one of his top priorities, and I share his goal," McCarthy said, noting that an email from Matt Fritz, EPA chief of staff, on the next steps was forthcoming.
"As many of you know, we have a process in place at EPA to make sure this transition runs smoothly and seamlessly," McCarthy said. The agency chief said she would continue to run EPA through "the finish line of President Obama’s presidency" and noted its past work on combating climate change, fighting water pollution and its outreach to local communities.
She concluded, "Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead."