July 31, 2018
Following numerous ethics investigations, President Donald Trump announced the resignation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 5. After the departure of Pruitt, the agency is now led by Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former Senate committee staff director and lobbyist.
On July 18, President Trump nominated Lane Genatowski for Director of Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) in the Department of Energy (DOE). Genatowski, an energy investment banker and lawyer, would lead the DOE program that aims to advance high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are not yet viable for private sector investment. The following week, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources advanced two other pending DOE nominations: Dr. Christopher Fall, currently the acting director of ARPA-E, for Director of the Office of Science, and Daniel Simmons for Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
President Trump also nominated Dr. Scott Hutchins this month for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics in the Department of Agriculture. As an entomologist, Dr. Hutchins has a scientific background that meets requirements for the position as outlined in the farm bill, unlike the previous nominee, Sam Clovis, who withdrew his nomination last fall. Dr. Hutchins is the global leader of integrated field sciences for Corteva Agriscience, holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Nebraska, and previously served as president of the Entomological Society of America. If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Hutchins would be responsible for overseeing the Agricultural Research Service.
In the last week of July, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing to consider James Hubbard as Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment, and approved his nomination on July 31.
To track the confirmation process of key geoscience presidential nominations from the Trump Administration, visit AGI’s Federal Nominations page.
Sources: E&E News; U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; White House.