Biden Taps Goffman to head EPA's Air Office - MIRATECH

Biden Taps Goffman to head EPA’s Air Office

April 9, 2022

President Biden on Tuesday, March 8 nominated Joseph Goffman to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s air office, according to an article from The Washington Post.

Goffman, a veteran of the EPA under Barack Obama, has been leading the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation on an acting basis since January 2021. He has overseen the development of consequential climate change regulations such as tighter limits on tailpipe emissions from new cars and trucks. The air office also is crafting a major new rule to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, the country’s second-largest contributor to climate change.

The nomination could garner criticism from Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which vets EPA nominees. Specifically, GOP senators will likely denounce Goffman’s writings from his time at Harvard Law School in between stints at EPA. The writings were often critical of the EPA’s efforts to dismantle environmental regulations under President Donald Trump.

With the Democrats’ razor-thin majority in the Senate, Goffman could still win confirmation if every Democrat supports him. But the timeline for moving the nomination is unclear, given a packed congressional agenda that includes passing a deal to fund the federal government, delivering aid to Ukraine after Russia’s unprovoked invasion, and holding confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“Being tapped by the president to serve the public and make a contribution is really the privilege of a lifetime,” Goffman said in an interview with The Post. “It was a privilege to be appointed as the principal deputy assistant administrator in January of last year, and it’s that much more of a privilege to be offered this opportunity by the president.”

In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that “since day one, Joe Goffman has delivered on the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to tackle the climate crisis, protect communities from pollution, advance environmental justice, and ensure clean, breathable air for all.”

“We’re proud of President Biden’s nomination and we look forward to swift action from Congress on his confirmation,” Regan added.

Goffman is no stranger to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, having served as the panel’s associate counsel in 1989 and 1990 and as Democratic chief counsel in 2017. In his earlier stint with the committee, he was chiefly responsible for crafting Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which established a program that largely eliminated acid rain, a major environmental threat.

Goffman first joined the EPA’s air office in 2009 at the outset of the Obama administration. He played a key role in crafting the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Supreme Court took the surprise step in 2016 of staying the Clean Power Plan before it could take effect nationwide. After a federal appeals court scrapped the Trump administration’s weaker replacement rule last year, the Biden administration is drafting a new regulation from scratch.