EPA taps Alabama business lobbyist to lead Southeast region

A business lobbyist and ex-environmental regulator has been tapped as the new regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection office that oversees eight Southeastern states.

Former Alabama Department of Environmental Management director Trey Glenn will oversee EPA's work in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"Mr. Glenn will help us carry out President Trump's vision of creating a more streamlined and efficient EPA that focuses on the Agency's core mission, while also providing more regulatory certainty to our nation's businesses," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a statement announcing the appointment.

Alabama state records show that Glenn is currently working as a registered lobbyist for the Business Council of Alabama, which promotes business interests in the state, and as an environmental policy consultant.

Before that, Glenn worked for nearly five years as director of Alabama's environment department, where his tenure ended abruptly.

The Alabama Ethics Commission in 2007 found unanimously that there was probable cause Glenn violated ethics rules in taking gifts from Alabama Power Co., which his agency regulated. He was also investigated for a personal family trip to Disney World that was paid for by a public relations firm that represented a client doing business with his agency.

Glenn was eventually cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the case, but resigned in 2009 after the ethics investigations.

Since taking over the EPA, Pruitt has taken actions to lessen regulations on industry by rolling back Obama-era protections from power plant emissions and a powerful pesticide.

Those who worked on environmental issues in Alabama during Glenn's tenure as director of the state's environmental agency were not pleased with his appointment.

"Having Glenn now in charge of the entire region, it should be alarming to everyone who cares about clean water," said Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, who unsuccessfully filed a petition with EPA to get the agency to take over Alabama's water permitting while Glenn was in office.

"He's made his allegiance to business and industry interest over the environment and public health."