Two EPA Officials Accept Jobs with Utility Industry

Two high-ranking officials at the U.S. EPA are defecting to industry lobbying posts, causing an outcry among environmentalists. John Pemberton, chief of staff to the EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, plans to work for Southern Company, an electrical utility conglomerate, while Edward Krenik, EPA associate administrator for congressional and intergovernmental relations, started work this week at Bracewell & Patterson, a law firm representing the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a utility-advocacy group. The Natural Resources Defense Council decried the job-change announcements, which came just one week after the EPA substantially weakened the federal Clean Air Act in a move that was widely seen as a giveaway to the utility industry. “Industry bought and paid for the Bush administration’s assault on our clean air protections, so it’s fitting that one of the nation’s biggest polluters should reward this EPA official [Pemberton] by putting him on its payroll,” said NRDC’s John Walke.