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EPA Region 6 Administrator candidates evaluated by environmental advocates

More than 30 groups submitted recommendations for Dr. Elena Craft, Dr. Earthea Nance, and Debra Trejo

More than 30 environmental organizations submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency today with recommendations for three possible candidates for the EPA Region 6 Administrator position. The recommendations follow several weeks of interviews and discussion by a coalition of advocates mostly located in Texas, but with participation from Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

Adrian Shelley, Texas office director for Public Citizen, was involved in the interview process. “Environmental justice communities need help now,” he said, “EPA Region 6 needs leadership from someone with environmental justice experience and qualifications–someone who knows the threats to our health and safety and can get to work on them immediately.”

The list of signing organizations includes Air Alliance Houston, Achieving Community Tasks Successfully, Clean Water Action, Earthworks, Environmental Integrity Project, Houston Climate Movement, Port Arthur Community Action Network, Public Citizen, and Texas Campaign for the Environment. Three candidates were recommended as qualified for the position: Dr. Elena Craft with the Environmental Defense Fund, Dr. Earthea Nance with Texas Southern University, and Deborah Trejo with Kemp Smith LLP.

Dr. Elena Craft is a toxicologist with the Environmental Defense Fund who holds a Ph.D. in toxicology from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth and Ocean Sciences and an M.S. in toxicology from North Carolina State University. She previously served on the EPA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Justice Technical Review Panel.

Dr. Earthea Nance has a Ph.D. from Stanford and is an Associate Professor in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. Previously she was an assistant professor at the University of New Orleans. She is a civil engineer, an expert in disaster response and mitigation across multiple Region VI states and has authored numerous influential reports aimed at directing the Houston area towards a more resilient future.

Deborah Trejo, J.D. is an experienced and effective environmental attorney with a long-time commitment to environmental and human rights issues. Ms. Trejo, a Spanish speaker, has worked and lived in three states in EPA Region VI – Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. She is deeply familiar with the issues facing EPA Region VI and with serving in administrative agencies.

Robin Schneider, Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, who also participated in the interview process, had this to say. “EPA Region 6 is the epicenter for petrochemical extraction and manufacturing in the United States. Advocates in the region believe that EPA needs a strong regional administrator who is willing to stand up to powerful industry interests and pro-industry state governments.”