EPA Reassigns Top Bureaucrat That Critics See As Key Resistor Of Trump’s Agenda

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

From The Daily Caller

The Environmental Protection Agency transferred a top official who critics saw as a hindrance to President Donald Trump’s agenda.

  • Christopher Grundler, who heads the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, will move to the Office of Atmospheric Programs in August.
  • EPA investigators are looking into potential collusion regarding officials in Grundler’s division and Volvo over an emissions test.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transferred a top official who critics see as a key resistor of President Donald Trump’s agenda, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, will be moving to another agency division in early August. (RELATED: Did The DNC Reject A Climate Change Debate To ‘Protect’ Joe Biden?)

EPA will make Grundler director of the Office of Atmospheric Programs, which oversees climate change programs. Sarah Dunham will replace Grundler as director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, which is in charge of setting vehicle emissions standards.

“[The Office of Air and Radiation] is very fortunate to have leaders with the level of experience, expertise, executive skill, and commitment to EPA’s mission that Chris and Sarah bring to their work,” Bill Wehrum, EPA’s assistant administrator for Office of Air and Radiation, said in a statement emailed to TheDCNF.

“This brings fresh and different perspectives to these critical EPA offices, while providing new leadership opportunities for two outstanding senior executives. I look forward to working with Chris and Sarah in their new roles,” Wehrum said.

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on the FY2020 EPA Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on the FY2020 EPA Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas.

Grundler oversaw the rollout of Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions tailpipe regulations on cars and trucks, which the Trump administration proposed repealing in 2018. Grundler also oversaw similar regulations for heavy-duty trucks and a cap on so-called “glider” trucks.

Grundler’s job was “most important to the environment that nobody knows about,” according to environmentalists supportive of the Obama administration’s agenda, Bloomberg reported in 2016 that described Grundler as the “bane of the auto industry.”

Environmentalists used Grundler’s emails, obtained by Greenpeace, to push back against the Trump administration’s freezing of Obama-era tailpipe regulations meant to fight global warming.

The Trump administration also began working to lift the cap on gliders at the behest of manufacturers who were forced to cut production and lay off workers. However, that deregulatory action has been held up by bureaucratic delays and legal setbacks.

EPA investigators are looking into whether or not officials in Grundler’s EPA office properly carried out a test widely used by opponents glider trucks — refurbished truck engines with new chassis.

Unearthed emails showed EPA officials at the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) working with a Volvo lobbyist to procure gliders for testing — Volvo opposed repealing glider regulations.

“The purpose, of course, was to embarrass and intimidate the Trump EPA into aborting the rollback of the Obama EPA rule,” JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy, who obtained the emails, said in 2018.

Flags fly outside the EPA headquarters in Washington

Flags fly outside the U.S. EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen.

House Republicans convinced EPA’s inspector general to investigate potential collusion between Volvo and EPA officials in Grundler’s division. Investigators are expected to release their report later in 2019.

EPA’s Wehrum told Congress in 2018 that Volvo “expressed a willingness to assist with EPA’s acquisition of a glider vehicle for testing through its dealership network,” but said NVFEL’s study was “independent of any outside stakeholder input.”

In the meantime, EPA moved Dunham to replace Grundler as head of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

“Sarah Dunham taking over the transportation office is a great day for EPA,” said Manday Gunasekara, a former Trump EPA official who now heads the group Energy 45.

“I can think of no one better to bring fresh leadership to the office that is charged with the immense responsibility of advancing environmental goals across our transportation sector,” Gunasekara told TheDCNF.

Grundler did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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34 thoughts on “EPA Reassigns Top Bureaucrat That Critics See As Key Resistor Of Trump’s Agenda

  1. It can’t be good that these bureaucrats are named, hence can be attacked, or groomed by the Forces of Darkness.

  2. replacing an engine isnt a big deal, whats their issue? As long as the replacer isnt stolen who cares itd usually be the same damn engine type anyway to suit the chassis/engine bolt mounts etc

    • Refurbished engine put into a new chassis. I believe that this exploits a loophole in the regulations – that the resulting truck is not a “new” vehicle that has to satisfy the emissions for an all new truck.

      The engine is the most expensive part of the truck, and the part where the efficiency is degraded the most by the EPA diktats. The buyer gets a truck that is far more efficient than a brand new one, and costs somewhat less. Besides the fact that the new chassis does not have to be a copy of the old one – the manufacturer can use new materials, aerodynamic designs, etc. that were not around when the old truck was built. Thus making the “glider” even more efficient.

      Win-win-win all around! Except for the apparatchiks, the makers of all new trucks that have “special relationships” with the apparatchiks, and the watermelons that know they must destroy the free market in order to build their Communist paradise on top of its smoking ruins.

  3. Unfortunately it takes WAY TOO LONG to move these people. And there are too many of them, like whack-a-mole.

    • Exactly! The “civil service” acts as if they are the real government, and the Republicans shot themselves in the foot when they instituted “professional” employees in the 1880’s. Sometimes, the dominant thing going on is unforeseen consequences.

      • I hope the admin has a policy of attrition reduction of staff. They are not obliged to replace retirees. They need to chop employment by about 50% in cases where the service has been bloated by activist divisions and programs as the EPA became, plus all the duplication in other agencies.

        Transfers are okay for targetted requirements if you are sure what you are getting, but you can always hire the best when you’ve downsized. Transfers of problem staff are best made to situations they are likely to want to retire out of.

        They also need to redo the science so you can update regulations and programs on discoveries of faulty science.

        • Reassign a few people to a new weather station in the Aleutians? As it is nearly impossible to fire anyone, a lateral transfer to someplace very unpleasant might work.

          • “lateral transfer to someplace very unpleasant might work”

            That’s the way they do it in academia. Rankle the people in control and you might get assigned to teach one class at 8 AM, and another at8 PM. They might not be able to take away tenure, but they can make life unpleasant.

          • I was thinking that a lot of important research and regulations need to be developed in Beaver, Alaska (just S of the Arctic Circle N of Fairbanks). A full staff is needed there 24/7/365. VERY IMPORTANT WORK!

          • I had an friend in the military who stated that the Aleutians had the most unpleasant climate of anywhere he had been. Freezing fog was typical.

      • The US needs to create partisan parity rules in order to prevent the Deep State from being a one party bureacrac y that counter
        mands any leadership change at the presidential level.

  4. Move the EPA headquarters to somewhere closer to ‘the environment’, like Nome, Alaska.

    • I’d rather shut it down, but if it still exists, I’d say Talkeetna.
      I’d also move other departments or shut them down. USDA should be in Colby, Kansas. Energy should be in Midland, TX. Interior in Sandpoint, Idaho. Labor in Detroit, with the requirement that all employees live in the city. Education in Boston, MA. Commerce in Atlanta, GA. Transportation in Chicago. HUD in LA or NYC. HHS in Kansas City, KS.
      The only 4 that should be left in DC are the original 4: Defense, State, Treasury, and Justice.

  5. “Grundler oversaw the rollout of Obama-era greenhouse gas emissions tailpipe regulations on cars and trucks, which the Trump administration proposed repealing in 2018. Grundler also oversaw similar regulations for heavy-duty trucks and a cap on so-called “glider” trucks.”

    “The purpose, of course, was to embarrass and intimidate the Trump EPA into aborting the rollback of the Obama EPA rule,”

    So what are you saying above
    The EPA was correct in trying to retaining emission standards?
    Or the EPA was wrong in improving air quality?

    • No, you are wrong in assuming that the purpose of the EPA regulations is to improve air quality.

      PS: I love how the troll assumes that not tightening standards is the same as getting rid of standards.

    • Restating that which you do not understand into something obnoxious that you can object to shows a low mentality.
      Grundler was colluding with Volvo to do improper testing which would produce results questioning Trump’s EPA’s decision.

      • sorry but this still does not make sense.
        Trump wants to get rid of standards that car manufacturers like vw failed. with no regulations there would have been no failures. vw etc would then be in the clear.
        And dirty engines would be free to ride the streets of usa. This does not sound as if air quality would be improved.

        Luckily this is a fairly local effect and so will not harm the supposedly over regulated EU. Carry on then!

  6. I think Grundler headed up the project I worked on, the hydraulic hybrid UPS truck, a big boondoggle, wasted tens of millions of a product that was commercially worthless. It died about 10 years ago, what a typical idealistic liberal.

    • OMG, the hydraulic hybrid truck. I heard all about that one. (A Blast From The Past)
      The short story, as I heard it:
      The engineers constantly complained that the design was an unworkable mess.
      The managers always maintained that they knew engineering better than the engineers.
      Micromanaged everything.
      Management incompetence on steroids then refined into an art form.

      I am sure John Bell could tell stories about this nightmare for hours on end.

      One can easily wonder if the Obama EPA emissions regulations were specifically designed to force the adoption of Grundler’s toy truck, regardless of cost. The regulations would make all other options impossible, an old EPA trick.

  7. Beyond questions of Volvo, who at EPA facilitated the ineptitude that was the basis for global diesel test cheating by VW and others. The whole scheme was founded on assurances that ineptitude by regulators would stay in place. And farming out the engineering test to grad students at a small West Virginia engineering lab is hardly a mark of pride for a multi-billion dollar agency with thousands of partisan employees and script writers for the climate crusades.

  8. How much of an improvement is this? The guy is supposedly a thorn in Trump’s agenda so they reassign him to head the climate change office. He won’t be a thorn there?

  9. Just a friendly FYI…

    In this case a “resistor” is an electrical device to quantitatively impede the flow of current in a mathematically succinct way.

    A “resister” is a person who resists some theory, activity, call-to-arms, etc.

    Might want to correct the typos.
    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  10. Hiring government parasites is easy. Then elected officials cannot fire them. That is the way “government expansion loving” executives continue to rule long after the voters have fired that executive.

    That is unconstitutional in the “umbra” of the Constitution. (as Roe v. Wade sprung from the “penumbra”)

  11. The Environmental Protection Agency transferred a top official who critics saw as a hindrance to President Donald Trump’s agenda. –>

    The Environmental Protection Agency transferred a top official whom critics saw as a hindrance to President Donald Trump’s agenda.

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