WHITE HOUSE

Trump's top energy aide stepping down

President Trump's top energy and environmental adviser is leaving the White House.

Mike Catanzaro, who has been the chief White House staffer on domestic energy and environmental policy since February 2017, is expected to step down next week, according to an administration official.

He'll rejoin the Washington lobbying firm CGCN Group, where he worked before joining the administration. He's expected to work in a consulting and advisory role.

Working largely behind the scenes, he's been pivotal in crafting Trump's energy policies and in rolling back Obama administration environmental rules.

Among the high-profile issues he's worked on, Catanzaro has been central to efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan and President Obama's signature clean water rule. He was also a key player in the administration's recent decision to relax climate rules for cars.

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He's well known in energy circles and on Capitol Hill, and his presence first on the Trump transition team and then in the White House has offered comfort to industry leaders and Republicans who valued having a familiar face in the administration.

"He's played a pivotal role in helping advance the president's vision for energy dominance," said George David Banks, a former White House energy and climate official. "He also has a ton of courage as reflected by his willingness to fight horrible policies and ideas that would have harmed the administration and the country."

Catanzaro has clashed with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at times, including over Pruitt's plans to host a so-called red team debate to challenge mainstream climate science. Catanzaro was among the White House officials who told EPA aides that the idea as envisioned by Pruitt wasn't going to happen (Climatewire, March 14).

It's unclear who will replace Catanzaro at the White House.

Catanzaro previously worked for then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and at EPA and the White House during the George W. Bush administration.

During his last stint at CGCN Group, his clients included the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the American Chemistry Council, Devon Energy Corp., America's Natural Gas Alliance, General Motors Co., Koch Cos. Public Sector LLC and others.

CGCN Group said in a statement that Catanzaro will observe all ethics requirements applicable to him as a former White House employee.

"We are thrilled to welcome Mike back to CGCN," said managing partner Steve Clark. "Our firm is like a family, and we are proud Mike wanted to come back to us after his service in the government. He is a tireless worker with an unrivaled command of energy and environmental policy and even stronger sense of integrity. His experience in the White House will be an invaluable resource for current and future clients, and we will make every effort to ensure his work complies with all relevant ethics guidelines."

Twitter: @rbravender Email: rbravender@eenews.net

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