Inhofe Sees Senate Deference on Next EPA Chief

The top Republican on the Senate’s environment panel and leading EPA critic predicted Friday that the president’s yet-to-be-named nominee to replace Lisa P. Jackson as EPA administrator will be confirmed.

Despite speculation that confirmation for a successor to Jackson may be difficult, Oklahoma Republican James M. Inhofe said enough Republicans will likely defer to President Barack Obama’s nominee to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to defeat a filibuster.

“Unless there’s something really negative, you’ll find a lot of Republicans go over to that side — recognizing that it should be the prerogative of the president,” said Inhofe, the ranking member on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “And I don’t agree with that because I think that’s why they have confirmation.”

Jackson, whose four-year tenure at the EPA unfolded in an unusually bitter political environment, announced Thursday that she will leave the agency after next month’s State of the Union address to pursue unspecified new opportunities.

At the EPA, she oversaw a suite of sweeping regulations to control greenhouse gases and other power plant emissions, as well as a crackdown on pollution from mountaintop removal mining. In doing so, she was the public face of what critics called the Obama administration’s “war on coal.”

Read more at Roll Call. By Geof Koss.

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