Ex-Inhofe aide picked to lead policy shop

Source: Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

EPA has a new policy chief.

Brittany Bolen, who has been acting as the leader of EPA’s policy office since April, will lead the shop on a permanent basis, the agency’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, said in an internal email obtained by E&E News.

Bolen joined EPA last year as the Office of Policy’s political deputy. She was previously policy counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and before that, majority counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee under then-Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

Several other former Inhofe aides have taken on prominent positions at EPA under the Trump administration, including Jackson, the senator’s former chief of staff, and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who was EPW staff director under Inhofe.

Samantha Dravis, the prior EPA policy chief, stepped down from the agency in April. She was considered a close aide to Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned earlier this month after being overwhelmed with allegations of excessive spending and mismanagement.

“During her time at EPA, Brittany has played a critical role in leading OP, particularly as the office went through a major reorganization this last spring. Additionally, Brittany serves on EPA’s Regulatory Reform Task Force and has testified before Congress on the agency’s regulatory reform efforts,” Jackson told EPA employees yesterday evening in his email.

“Please join me in congratulating Brittany on her selection for this role.”

Brian Mannix, who led EPA’s policy shop during the George W. Bush administration, noted that Bolen has been working in the key agency office for more than a year.

“The policy chief has to engage with all of the staff as well as the program offices to give the administrator the full range of options,” said Mannix, now a research professor at George Washington University.

“My impression is that Brittany has been engaging with the staff and is fully prepared to step in the [assistant administrator] role.”

Bolen earned her law degree from the George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.

Bryan Zumwalt, then chief counsel at EPW, brought Bolen onto the committee staff in 2013. He called her “one of the best hires” he made at the panel.

“She is very capable, very talented, and EPA is fortunate to have her in that position,” said Zumwalt, now vice president of federal affairs at the American Chemistry Council.