Former Regulator to Lead EPA Office

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Wisconsin regulator Cathy Stepp was named Tuesday as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office in Chicago, drawing praise from business groups and criticism from environmental activists fearful she will weaken enforcement of rules protecting the Great Lakes and air quality in the Upper Midwest’s industrial centers.

The assignment came four months after Stepp was named a deputy administrator for another EPA regional office near Kansas City. Previously, she served six years as director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and was a Republican state senator from 2003-07. As head of EPA’s Region 5, she will oversee operations in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

“Cathy Stepp’s experience working as a statewide cabinet official, elected official and small business owner will bring a fresh perspective to EPA as we look to implement President Trump’s agenda,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said.

Henry Henderson, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest director, said Stepp’s record “fits nicely with the lax mode of enforcement favored by the Trump administration.”

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