Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
News Article | August 11, 2013
Beverly McGuire saw the warning signs before the town well went dry: sand in the toilet bowl, the sputter of air in the tap, a pump working overtime to no effect. But it still did not prepare her for the night last month when she turned on the tap and discovered the tiny town where she had made her home for 35 years was out of water. "The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes," she said, blinking back tears. "I went: 'dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind." Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted. Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse. In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Nearly 15 million people are living under some form of water rationing, barred from freely sprinkling their lawns or refilling their swimming pools. In Barnhart's case, the well appears to have run dry because the water was being extracted for shale gas fracking. The town — a gas station, a community hall and a taco truck – sits in the midst of the great Texan oil rush, on the eastern edge of the Permian basin. A few years ago, it seemed like a place on the way out. Now McGuire said she can see nine oil wells from her back porch, and there are dozens of RVs parked outside town, full of oil workers. But soon after the first frack trucks pulled up two years ago, the well on McGuire's property ran dry. No-one in Barnhart paid much attention at the time, and McGuire hooked up to the town's central water supply. "Everyone just said: 'too bad'. Well now it's all going dry," McGuire said. Ranchers dumped most of their herds. Cotton farmers lost up to half their crops. The extra draw down, coupled with drought, made it impossible for local ranchers to feed and water their herds, said Buck Owens. In a good year, Owens used to run 500 cattle and up to 8,000 goats on his 7,689 leased hectares (19,000 acres). Now he's down to a few hundred goats. The drought undoubtedly took its toll but Owens reserved his anger for the contractors who drilled 104 water wells on his leased land, to supply the oil companies. Water levels were dropping in his wells because of the vast amounts of water being pumped out of the Edwards-Trinity-Plateau Aquifer, a 34,000 sq mile water bearing formation. "They are sucking all of the water out of the ground, and there are just hundreds and hundreds of water trucks here every day bringing fresh water out of the wells," Owens said. Meanwhile, residents in town complained, they were forced to live under water rationing. "I've got dead trees in my yard because I haven't been able to water them," said Glenda Kuykendall. "The state is mandating our water system to conserve water but why?... Getting one oil well fracked takes more water than the entire town can drink or use in a day." Even as the drought bore down, even as the water levels declined, the oil industry continued to demand water and those with water on their land were willing to sell it. The road west of town was lined with signs advertising "fresh water", where tankers can take on a box-car-sized load of water laced with industrial chemicals. "If you're going to develop the oil, you've got to have the water," said Larry Baxter, a contractor from the nearby town of Mertzon, who installed two frack tanks on his land earlier this year, hoping to make a business out of his well selling water to oil industry. By his own estimate, his well could produce enough to fill up 20 or 30 water trucks for the oil industry each day. At $60 (£39.58) a truck, that was $36,000 a month, easily. "I could sell 100 truckloads a day if I was open to it," Baxter said. He rejected the idea there should be any curbs on selling water during the drought. "People use their water for food and fibre. I choose to use my water to sell to the oil field," he said. "Who's taking advantage? I don't see any difference." Barnhart remained dry for five days last month before local work crew revived an abandoned railway well and started pumping again. But residents fear it is just a temporary fix and that next time it happens they won't have their own wells to fall back on. "My well is very very close to going dry," said Kuykendall. So what is a town like Barnhart to do? Fracking is a powerful drain on water supplies. In adjacent Crockett county, fracking accounts for up to 25% of water use, according to the groundwater conservation district. But Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, argues fracking is not the only reason Texas is going dry – and nor is the drought. The latest shocks to the water system come after decades of overuse by ranchers, cotton farmers, and fast-growing thirsty cities. "We have large urban centres sucking water out of west Texas to put on their lands. We have a huge agricultural community, and now we have fracking which is also using water," she said. And then there is climate change. West Texas has a long history of recurring drought, but under climate change, the south-west has been experiencing record-breaking heatwaves, further drying out the soil and speeding the evaporation of water in lakes and reservoirs. Underground aquifers failed to regenerate. "What happens is that climate change comes on top and in many cases it can be the final straw that breaks the camel's back, but the camel is already overloaded," said Hayhoe. Other communities across a bone-dry south-west are resorting to extraordinary measures to keep the water flowing. Robert Lee, also in the oil patch, has been hauling in water by tanker. So has Spicewood Beach, a resort town 40 miles from Austin, which has been trucking in water since early 2012. San Angelo, a city of 100,000, dug a pipeline to an underground water source more than 60 miles away, and sunk half a dozen new wells. Las Cruces, just across the border from the Texas panhandle in New Mexico, is drilling down 1,000ft in search of water. But those fixes are way out of reach for small, rural communities. Outside the RV parks for the oil field workers who are just passing through, Barnhart has a population of about 200. "We barely make enough money to pay our light bill and we're supposed to find $300,000 to drill a water well?" said John Nanny, an official with the town's water supply company. Last week brought some relief, with rain across the entire state of Texas. Rain gauges in some parts of west Texas registered two inches or more. Some ranchers dared to hope it was the beginning of the end of the drought. But not Owens, not yet anyway. The underground aquifers needed far more rain to recharge, he said, and it just wasn't raining as hard as it did when he was growing up. "We've got to get floods. We've got to get a hurricane to move up in our country and just saturate everything to replenish the aquifer," he said. "Because when the water is gone. That's it. We're gone."
News Article | May 17, 2017
DEER PARK, Texas, May 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Vopak Terminal Deer Park announced today that it has reached an agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Justice, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Attorney General regarding emissions controls at its Deer Park, Texas, facility. As part of the agreement (referred to as a consent decree) Vopak Terminal Deer Park is making a number of improvements to its facility, many of which are already underway. The consent decree is not an admission of liability but rather represents an agreement between Vopak Terminal Deer Park and the government on a range of new controls and processes. "Vopak is committed to being a leader and responsible company in the communities where we operate and we are happy to cooperate with all governmental agencies to ensure that our facilities meet the highest regulatory standards," said David Carter, Deer Park terminal manager. "We are also committed to continuous improvement and look for ways each day to innovate in our operations and the way we do business."
News Article | May 23, 2017
GONZALES, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Southwest Engineers, Inc., a full-service civil and environmental engineering consulting firm, today announced three new hires which follows a 26 percent growth in business last year. Joining the company are Russell Kotara, project manager and project engineer (P.E.), Allison Guettner, P.E. and Angie Posada, marketing communications coordinator. As a project manager with Southwest Engineers, Kotara is responsible for complex land development projects including multi-family, commercial, retail and office projects. Kotara joins the company from LandDev Consulting, LLP where he served as a project manager for land development during the past year. He also has worked as a project manager for land development at BIG RED DOG, served as a P.E. for the Dam Safety Section of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and as a P.E. for land development with Cunningham-Allen, Inc. Kotara holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. Guettner is a familiar face at Southwest Engineers having previously served as a summer intern at the company. Returning as a project engineer, her responsibilities include supporting public and private engineering projects including commercial retail, multi-family subdivisions, institutional construction, and land development. In addition, she will perform hydraulic computer modeling of water distribution systems and be involved in obtaining government-funded loans and grants. After completing her master’s degree in 2011, Guettner joined Vickrey & Associates in San Antonio as a project manager and P.E. where she worked on numerous commercial and residential land development projects throughout Central and South Texas. She holds a master of engineering degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from The University of San Antonio. As a marketing communications coordinator, Posada will assist in marketing programs activities, public relations and marketing, collaborating on strategic planning and participating in new business networking. Prior to joining Southwest Engineers, she served as the creative director for the Grapevine Wine Bar in Gruene, Texas, a development intern for the Austin Film Festival and an event coordinator with Carrera Races in San Antonio. Posada holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Texas State University. Southwest Engineers focuses on public and private projects including commercial retail, multi-family subdivisions, institutional construction, land development and is known for its extensive expertise in water and wastewater systems. Southwest Engineers is a full-service civil and environmental engineering consulting firm serving Texas with quality engineering services for 39 years. Their experienced team leads in the design of land development projects, water and wastewater infrastructure design and permitting throughout the state with smart, cost-effective, future-focused design. For more information, visit www.swengineers.com.
News Article | March 1, 2017
African-American and poor children in the United States suffer disproportionately from asthma. But according to a new study from sociologists at Rice University, racial and socio-economic gaps in the proportion of children in Houston who have asthma may be a result of social inequalities in the neighborhoods where children live. "Comprehensive Neighborhood Portraits and Child Asthma Disparities" will appear in an upcoming edition of the Maternal and Child Health Journal. In the study, the researchers found that of the 12,000+ children in Houston who have asthma, the chronic disease of airways in the lungs is more prevalent among African-American children than white children and occurs most often among African-American children living in poor neighborhoods. The researchers also found that children of all races and ethnicities, including white children, have a greater risk of developing asthma when they live in poor neighborhoods, compared with children living in middle-class or affluent neighborhoods. "We set out to find out if there is a concentration of children in different neighborhoods that was more likely to have asthma," said lead author Ashley Kranjac, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Sociology and the Kinder Institute Urban Health Program at Rice. "We found, as others have, that asthma is more widespread among African-American children and children in poor neighborhoods. But in addition, we found that African-American children suffer disproportionately in every kind of neighborhood, from the poorest to the wealthiest." All Houston neighborhoods were classified using several social and economic characteristics. One such characteristic was median household income; the researchers reported that the most affluent neighborhoods in Houston had median household incomes of over $100,000. Middle-class neighborhoods were at $58,100 and poor neighborhoods had median household incomes of just $33,900. Using these classifications, the researchers found that African-American children, when compared with white children living in the same type of neighborhood, were 8.8 percent more likely to have asthma in poor neighborhoods, 6.7 percent more likely in middle-class neighborhoods and 5.8 percent more likely in affluent communities. In addition, the likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma increased for all children in Houston as they got older. For example, 6 percent of children in Houston between the ages of 2 and 6 have asthma, but 8 percent of children between the ages of 7 and 12 have asthma. And children growing up in the poorest neighborhoods are twice as likely to have an asthma diagnosis compared with children growing up in the most affluent neighborhoods. Kranjac said that although the research did not provide a reason why African-American children growing up in poor neighborhoods were more likely to suffer from asthma, she theorized that it could partly have to do with socio-economic differences. "Higher levels of income and higher levels of education go hand in hand," Kranjac said. "It may be that parents with more education have greater access to information on poor air quality and its effects on asthma. These individuals may not only be more likely to know how to access information on air quality but also decide to have their children play inside or be able to travel outside of their community on poor air quality days. Individuals with less education and/or income may not have access to that kind of information and/or may not have the resources to pursue alternative activities on poor air quality days. They likely also have fewer housing choices and have to settle for housing in the poorest air quality areas of the city." Kranjac said that it is equally concerning that African-American children, even in the wealthiest neighborhoods, are disproportionately suffering from asthma. "The drivers of those differences are not likely physiological but rooted in social and racial inequalities," she said. The researchers used the medical records of 206,974 children aged 2-12 in 1,076 Houston metropolitan neighborhoods (Census tracts). Social and economic information was generated using the 2010 Census and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey data. Air quality data was provided by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Air Monitoring Information System from 2010 to 2012. Kranjac and her coauthors hope the research will lead others to treat social and racial inequalities as central drivers of the asthma gap in children. The study is available online at https:/ and was funded by Houston Endowment. For more information, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This news release can be found online at http://news. . Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to http://tinyurl. .
News Article | December 18, 2016
Tap Water In Corpus Christi Is Safe, Authorities Say Residents of Corpus Christi, Texas, can use their tap water again, city officials announced on Sunday. On Sunday, the city issued a statement saying: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the City of Corpus Christi have concurred on the decision to lift the tap water restrictions citywide effective immediately. "The City recommends flushing each tap in the house for 2 — 3 minutes to clear any water lines and replacing filters, at your discretion." The water ban had been in effect since Dec. 14, when the city notified residents that possible chemical contamination could make the water unsafe to drink or bathe in. The chemical was a corrosive acid called Indulin-AA-86, which is used to make an asphalt solution and can burn skin and cause respiratory problems. Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen said the city believed a "backflow incident" at Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions company caused an unknown amount of the chemical to enter the water supply. According to a manufacturer's data sheet about the chemical, four states specifically regulate the substance. Texas does not. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released results on Sunday from 28 water samples collected Dec. 15 and Dec. 16 showing none of them detected dangerous levels of the chemical, which the TCEQ and local branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defined as under 2.6 mg/l for Indulin-AA-86 in drinking water. Speaking Sunday, McQueen said he could feel the pain in the community, reported the Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Local ABC affiliate KSAT reported this is the fourth water advisory in two years for the gulf city of more than 300,000 people. As we reported, in July 2015 the city had a boil advisory after heavy rain, and in September 2015 and May 2016 low chlorine levels made the water unsafe to drink without boiling.
News Article | April 28, 2016
"Hundreds of industrial facilities across Texas are illegally spewing millions of pounds of toxic pollutants into the air each year when they break down or perform maintenance, and state environmental regulators are not adequately policing the rogue emissions, according to a new report. The report by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project and Austin-based Environment Texas — titled “Breakdowns in Air Quality” — found that 679 facilities from the Beaumont/Port Arthur area to rural West Texas emitted more than 68 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, benzene and other toxic substances last year during more than 3,400 incidents of breakdown or maintenance. The organizations compiled the report by analyzing emissions reports in online databases maintained by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s environmental regulatory agency. The report asserts that the vast majority of the 2015 emissions were illegal because they exceeded the maximum emissions facilities allowed under their state and federal air permits. Companies have argued, however, that emissions during maintenance, start-up and shutdown events aren’t illegal and that they do everything necessary under federal and state law to minimize the breaches, which they say are unavoidable."
News Article | December 1, 2016
The League of Conservation Voters called on Donald Trump’s three oldest children on Thursday to ensure that their father protects the environment, citing an open letter they and the president-elect signed in 2009 urging President Obama to act on climate change. Thursday’s letter — which was signed by LCV President Gene Karpinski and the chair of LCV’s board of directors, Carol Browner, who served as Obama’s climate czar during his first term — highlights the extent to which environmentalists are concerned about the direction of the next administration. On Wednesday, more than 2,300 scientists, including 22 Nobel laureates, sent a letter to Trump and GOP congressional leaders urging them to respect scientific integrity once they take the helm of the executive and legislative branches in January. Hours after LCV sent its letter to Trump’s children, a coalition of 30 green groups sent every member of the Senate a letter arguing that they should only support Cabinet nominees next year if they are committed to key environmental safeguards. Noting that the incoming president had vowed to unify the country, they write, “A critical step forward would be for him to nominate Cabinet secretaries and agency heads who are committed to addressing the climate crisis and to protecting our air, water, health, public lands and wildlife.” “If the President-elect instead chooses to nominate individuals who deny climate science or would seek to gut our bedrock environmental protections or roll back recent climate progress, we urge you to vote against their confirmation,” adds the signatories, which include the National Parks Conservation Association, Ocean Conservancy and the Sierra Club. For their part, Karpinski and Browner note that the four Trumps signed a letter addressed to Obama and published in the New York Times in November 2009 that cautioned, “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” “Seven years later the stakes have never been higher in the global fight against climate change,” Karpinski and Browner write in Thursday’s letter. None of Trump’s children spoke extensively about the issue of climate change during the campaign, though Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid hunters. Donald Jr. told a group at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s meeting this summer that the campaign had “broken away from a lot of traditional conservative dogma on the issue, in that we do want federal lands to remain federal,” a position his father outlined in a Field & Stream interview nearly a year ago. [Over 2,000 scientists urge Trump to respect ‘scientific integrity and independence’] The Trump campaign could not be reached for comment Thursday. On the question of climate change, however, the president-elect has given little indication that he will pursue the kinds of policies that LCV and other groups support. Donald Trump has vowed to boost fossil fuel production in the United States, particularly within the coal industry, and at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire during the GOP primaries, he mocked the idea that global warming is a threat. At that event, LCV volunteer Meghan Andrade asked Trump what he would do to address the issue, to which he replied: “Let me ask you this — take it easy, fellas — how many people here believe in global warming? Do you believe in global warming?” After asking three times “Who believes in global warming?” and soliciting a show of hands, Trump concluded that “nobody” believed climate change was underway except for Andrade. “Well, it’s a very interesting” question, Trump said. “You believe, right? You believe?” Referring to that incident, Karpinski and Browner write, “On Election Night, your father said he wants to be a president for all Americans. It’s pretty simple. For your children’s future and the future of all Americans, we must honor the United States commitments under the Paris agreement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and we must defend the Clean Power Plan, the single largest step our nation has taken to address climate change.” They also specifically point to some of those being considered by Trump to head key environmental agencies or to serve as top advisers — including the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former Texas Commission on Environmental Quality chair Kathleen Hartnett White — as people who “should make it nowhere near his administration. Our planet simply can’t afford to give polluters free rein to pollute our air and water and even sell off public lands.” [Top green group to spend at least $40 million this election, shattering past records] It is unclear how much leverage the nation’s environmental groups — including LCV, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president before a single primary ballot was cast and spent $10 million in an effort to help her win the White House — have when it comes to Trump or his three oldest children, who serve as some of his top advisers.
News Article | February 27, 2017
WESTMINSTER, Colo., Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vista International Technologies, Inc (OTCBB:VVIT) a pioneer in efficient Waste-to-Energy (WTE) technology, is pleased to give investors an update on recent events in its Waste to Energy (WTE) and tire recycling operations. Vista’s commercial scale pilot next-generation gasification unit (MFG-8 Thermal Gasifier) has recently completed its independent (third party) testing. The Company is now waiting for the results of this testing, which will be available in the next 3-4 weeks. The Company plans on presenting these results to the states where the Company has projects in development, with the goal of securing permits for these projects. This is a major step forward, as the Company continues to execute its strategic business plan. The Company also conducted its own tests concurrent with those conducted by the third party and found that the unit met or beat the Company’s internal targets for efficiency, emissions, and feedstock variability and moisture content, among other internal measures. The Company’s tire operations have continued to see strong revenues in the first quarter due to increased disposal (tipping) fees as compared to prior quarters. However, margins are currently lower, as the company has increased its hauling of scrap material to the landfill in order to clear certain areas of the facility as the Company works toward obtaining its permit for scrap tire processing and storage with the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). This permit would allow the facility to continue operating for the next five years. The Company’s main stumbling block in this permit application process has been its pursuit of a variance from the Dallas County Fire Marshal which would allow the company to keep its storage piles at their current size, versus a significant reduction. So far the Company has been unsuccessful in securing this variance. Vista International Technologies, Inc. has been producing Waste-to-Energy gasification systems for over twenty years, with installations across three continents. The Company’s technology has low costs of installation and operation, and allows for the processing of virtually any hydrocarbon-based waste product, including municipal solid waste, waste tires, sewage waste, and biomass, among others. The company’s WTE systems are emission friendly and extremely efficient, and can be used to produce heat, steam, and/or electricity.
News Article | October 29, 2016
Miami, FL, October 29, 2016 --( Source Molecular’s Grace Anderson attended the Water Quality/Stormwater Seminar hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on October 12-13 at the Palmer Events Center in Austin. The seminar provided updates on permitting rules and upcoming regulations and included presentations covering a wide range of topics; from the technical aspects of municipal, industrial, stormwater, and sludge permits. Source Molecular also had an abstract prepared for the 16th Annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference held October 4 to 7, 2016, at Marquette Regional History Center in Michigan. Source Molecular’s James Herrin was to present “Evidence-based guidelines for Microbial Source Tracking projects” and provide details on lessons learned and outcomes achieved from two MST projects. Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew derailed the trip to Michigan. Source Molecular’s flyers also made an appearance at the 33rd Annual Montana American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Conference on October 13-14, 2016. The conference, with the theme: Water Quality & Quantity in a Changing Climate, was held at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Source Molecular’s flyers depicts caricatures of human and animals that the laboratory can detect. Source Molecular’s continued support for water quality-related conferences is part of its campaign to help educate water managers, environmental consulting firms, diverse permitted dischargers and environmental organizations about microbial source tracking and the application of this technology in solving challenging water quality issues. Miami, FL, October 29, 2016 --( PR.com )-- Source Molecular Corporation sponsored three separate conferences in Michigan, Texas and Montana this October, emphasizing the importance of identifying sources of water pollution in solving water quality related problems.Source Molecular’s Grace Anderson attended the Water Quality/Stormwater Seminar hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on October 12-13 at the Palmer Events Center in Austin. The seminar provided updates on permitting rules and upcoming regulations and included presentations covering a wide range of topics; from the technical aspects of municipal, industrial, stormwater, and sludge permits.Source Molecular also had an abstract prepared for the 16th Annual Great Lakes Beach Association Conference held October 4 to 7, 2016, at Marquette Regional History Center in Michigan. Source Molecular’s James Herrin was to present “Evidence-based guidelines for Microbial Source Tracking projects” and provide details on lessons learned and outcomes achieved from two MST projects. Unfortunately, Hurricane Matthew derailed the trip to Michigan.Source Molecular’s flyers also made an appearance at the 33rd Annual Montana American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Conference on October 13-14, 2016. The conference, with the theme: Water Quality & Quantity in a Changing Climate, was held at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Source Molecular’s flyers depicts caricatures of human and animals that the laboratory can detect.Source Molecular’s continued support for water quality-related conferences is part of its campaign to help educate water managers, environmental consulting firms, diverse permitted dischargers and environmental organizations about microbial source tracking and the application of this technology in solving challenging water quality issues. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from Source Molecular Corporation
News Article | December 6, 2016
The well-known investor is reportedly one of the most influential advisers to President-elect Donald Trump as he considers candidates to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Icahn has interviewed several candidates for the job in the last week, according to the Wall Street Journal. Icahn confirmed that one top contender is Jeff Holmstead, an assistant EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration and who was, until a few weeks ago, a registered lobbyist for fossil-fuel companies. Other top candidates reportedly include Kathleen Hartnett White, former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general. Icahn has more than a passing interest in the EPA. He has a controlling interest in CVR Energy, whose CEO has said that EPA regulations could cost the company an estimated $200 million this year, according to the WSJ. CVR is in the business of refining petroleum and manufacturing nitrogen fertilizer. Trump campaigned on promises to “drain the swamp” of special interests surrounding the White House. So far, he’s shown a knack for surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders, super-wealthy investors like Icahn, and other Masters of the Universe.