Head of Romney Transition Team Issued Hundreds of ‘Job-Killing’ EPA Regulations

Mike Leavitt, the man Mitt Romney has tapped to head his transition should he win this November, has held a wide array of public-sector jobs including Governor of Utah and Secretary of Health and Human Services. But perhaps most interesting is the fifteen months he spent from November 6, 2003 through January 26, 2005 as President George W. Bush’s EPA administrator — a period over which he supported many of the environmental protection efforts Romney has railed against through the campaign.

Romney’s official campaign website has a prominent section on government regulations entitled “Obama’s Failure,” which blasts the EPA for “endless new regulations touching on countless other forms of economic activity—regulations that drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs. Romney has added that “there are other people who would like to put in place a cap-and-trade program and dramatically increase the cost of energy. That’s their view. And by the way, that would kill a lot of jobs.”

Leavitt has a rather opposite record. In his introductory address to his EPA employees, enthusiastically endorsed a cap-and-trade, telling them:

We need to take the giant step toward national market-based solutions; to do that we need only look to our own experience. That is exactly what we’re doing with cap and trade. The cap and trade strategy was key to the breakthrough against acid rain. It is central to Clear Skies. The cap and trade approach shows us again and again that people do more and they do it faster when they have an incentive to do what’s in the public’s interest.

And, a ThinkProgress analysis of Regulations.gov data reveals that between Leavitt’s first day as administrator to his last, the agency promulgated or amended 232 regulatory rules. Theseincluded tougher standards for ozone, diesel fuels, and other air pollutants. Among these were things like National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Asbestos, and Protection of Stratospheric Ozone; Refrigerant Recycling; Substitute Refrigerants — the sorts of regulations Romney says “drive up costs, hinder investment, and destroy jobs.”

Given their opposite views on these issues and Leavitt’s strong support of ObamaCare, he seems a surprising choice to lead Romney’s transition.

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