News

Water-wars veteran leads Schwarzenegger’s EPA

When Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger picked Democrat Linda Adams to
run the California Environmental Protection Agency, few in the Capitol
were surprised. Adams, a veteran of two decades of California’s ferocious
water politics, is no stranger to politics and pressure. As Cal-EPA
secretary, she will see plenty of both.

“My interview with the governor was short,” Adams noted. “He said, ‘I want
clean air, clean water and no excuses.'”

Adams, 57, is the most powerful environmental official outside Washington,
D.C. Her office wields authority over the Air Resources Board–itself the
nation’s premier air-quality regulator–and over the state agencies that
regulate toxics, pesticides and solid waste. She is responsible for the
state and regional water-quality control boards. Those panels, perhaps more
than any other state operation, make day-to-day decisions that directly
affect businesses and residents. Although obscure, they are among the most
powerful entities in government, and they routinely make decisions that
struggle to balance environmental protection with the economic needs of
businesses.

Adams, the latest in a series of Democrats recruited by Schwarzenegger for
high-level jobs in his administration, would seem a good fit here, although
environmentalists say it’s too early to tell. “She is kind of a safe,
don’t-rock-the-boat kind of appointment,” said Bill Magavern of the Sierra
Club. “She’s a Democrat, but she’s a centrist Democrat.


Support for Capitol Weekly is Provided by: